Major League Baseball and its 30 clubs are helping the city of Wichita, Kansas, move on from a shocking crime.

The baseball leaders will pay for the construction of a new Jackie Robinson statue in the city after the original one was stolen and then burned.

Bob Lutz, executive director of League 42, the youth baseball league based in the park where the statue is meant to stand, announced the donation on Wednesday.

“Lutz told reporters ... that a new Robinson statue would be built using the original mold,” according to

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What happened to the Jackie Robinson statue?

The Jackie Robinson statue, which celebrates Robinson’s advocacy on behalf of the Black community and his playing career, was stolen early on the morning of Jan. 25.

“Surveillance video shows two people hauling the sculpture away in the dark, to a truck that was later found abandoned,” ESPN reported.

The thieves were able to make off with the statue by slicing through its ankles.

In the days after the statue was taken, police conducted more than 100 interviews, per ESPN. But they were unable to locate it before the thieves destroyed it.

On Tuesday, the stolen portion of the statue was found burning in a trash can in a park in southern Wichita, ESPN reported. A spokesman for the police described it as “not salvageable.”

“It’s really disheartening to see the remnants of the statue and the disgraceful way in which it has been disrespected,” Wichita police Chief Joe Sullivan said, according to ESPN.

Sullivan added that it’s “only a matter of time” before arrests are made, per ESPN.

A group of people gathered at the Jackie Robinson pavilion at McAdams Park in Wichita, Kan., on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024. | Jaime Green, The Wichita Eagle via Associated Press

Wichita Jackie Robinson statue

The Jackie Robinson statue was funded by League 42 and installed in Wichita’s McAdams Park in 2021.

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Lutz from League 42 said he’s hopeful that the thieves were motivated by a desire to melt down the bronze used in the statue’s construction rather than a desire to harm the Black community.

“If it turns out it was racially motivated, then obviously that is a deeper societal issue and it certainly would make this a much more concerning theft,” he told ESPN. “We’ll wait and see what this turns out to be.”

Before the MLB announced its donation, Lutz and others in Wichita were working to raise funds from local businesses to rebuild the statue.

“In addition to paying for a replacement statue, MLB and the clubs will provide funding to League 42 programming to support its on-field and academic goals,” reported.

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