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Statue of Jackie Robinson Discovered Burned and Destroyed Following Theft from Youth Baseball Field

The bronze statue of Jackie Robinson, belonging to League 42, a youth baseball program in Wichita, Kansas, was discovered beyond repair on Tuesday after being stolen from a local baseball field. Named in honor of Robinson's iconic number in Major League Baseball, the figure was cut at the ankles and taken away on January 24th, causing an estimated damage of $75,000. The Wichita Police expressed the community's devastation and sought assistance from the public in apprehending the thieves.

On Tuesday morning, the statue's remnants were found in flames at Garvey Park in North Wichita after responders were called to extinguish a dumpster fire. League 42, founded by Bob Lutz in 2013 to make baseball more accessible to local children, hosts around 600 kids in its league and offers educational opportunities. Inspired by Robinson's legacy, the statue served as a symbol of inclusivity at McAdams Park in North Wichita.

Speaking at a news conference, Lutz announced plans to replace the sculpture, noting that although the original cannot be salvaged, it can be replicated. Crafted by artist John Parsons, who left a mold of the work, the statue took two years to create and was installed in 2021.

Despite the setback, Lutz expressed determination to move forward, emphasizing that the new statue at McAdams Park will honor Parsons' work. The Wichita Police are actively investigating the theft, having released surveillance footage showing individuals dismantling the statue and loading it onto a truck later found abandoned.

Police Chief Joe Sullivan warned those involved of impending arrests, urging them to turn themselves in. Meanwhile, League 42 initiated a crowdfunding campaign via GoFundMe to cover the costs of the replacement statue, which garnered over $20,000 in donations within two days.

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