(PatriotWise.com) — Thousands of donations poured in last week to replace a statue of Jackie Robinson that was stolen from a Kansas public park and later found destroyed, the Associated Press reported.
The statue went missing on Thursday, January 25, from McAdams Park in Wichita on what would have been Robinson’s 105th birthday. All that remained were the home plate-shaped pedestal and Robinson’s shoes.
Fire crews later found the burned remnants of the statue on January 30, about 7 miles away, in a trash can at Garvey Park. The truck police believe was used to steal the statue had previously been found abandoned.
McAdams Park is where the Youth Baseball League 42 plays its games. The league is named after Robinson’s uniform number.
On Wednesday, Little League Executive Director Bob Lutz said the commissioner of Major League Baseball and 30 MLB clubs had committed to donating toward replacing the statue, which was damaged beyond repair.
According to the Associated Press, by Wednesday, an online fundraiser had raised over $145,000, which far exceeded the $75,000 needed to cover the cost of replacing Robinson’s statue.
Lutz had previously said that any excess money raised would also go to enhancing some of the Little League’s facilities and programming.
One of the largest single donations pledged was $10,000 from an anonymous MLB World Series champion player.
Wichita Police Chief Joe Sullivan, who announced the $10,000 donation last weekend, called on those involved in the theft to surrender to police. He said that arrests in the case were imminent.
In a statement last Wednesday, Chief Sullivan said the Wichita community and “the nation as a whole” had shown “an incredible outpouring of support” in response to the online fundraiser.
According to Bob Lutz, the mold for the original statue is still available, and a replacement should be erected within months.
Jackie Robinson became the first black player in Major League Baseball when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.
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