A Jackie Robinson statue that was built outside the League 42 youth baseball fields in Wichita, Kan., was ripped down and stolen. On Tuesday, pieces of that very statue were found burnt in nearby Garvey Park, according to KAKE.
Just days after the statue was found destroyed, there have been over $140,000 in donations that have poured in to aid in rebuilding the iconic statue according to the Associated Press. An online fundraiser was started with a goal $75,000 to help rebuild the statue that honors Robinson, who broke baseball’s color barrier in 1947.
The statue’s feet were stil at McAdams Park, where it originally resided. Firefighters found burned remains of the statue on Tuesday while they were responding to another trash can fire at a park that was seven miles away. A truck that was used to commit the crime was found abandoned nearby.
Wichita police chief Joe Sullivan also urged the vandals to turn themselves in and stated that arrests would be coming.
“The community, along with the business community and the nation as a whole, have demonstrated an incredible outpouring of support,” Sullivan said in a statement. “This effort highlights the kindness of the people and their determination to rebuild what was taken away from our community.”
Artist John Parsons sculpted the statue before his death, but a mold is still available and a replacement could be constructed in just a few months. Bob Lutz, who is the executive director of League 42, really wants to make sure that the statue returns to McAdams Park.
“We can’t imagine, being named League 42 without a Jackie Robinson statue in our park,” he said. “It was a no-brainer when we went about trying to name our league. And the name League 42 came up. It was like lightning and struck. We knew we had our name.”
Robinson played for the Brooklyn Dodgers after previously starring for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues.