Police announced on Tuesday the arrest of a 45-year-old man for the theft of a bronze Jackie Robinson statue that was later found dismantled and burned.

Wichita Police Lt. Aaron Moses said the man was previously arrested in an unrelated case and charged Monday with multiple counts, including aggravated criminal damage to property. Moses said he was “very confident this was not a race-related crime.” He said the reason appeared to be financial.

Thieves cut the bronze statue from its base last month in a park in Wichita, Kansas. Only the feet of the statue remained in McAdams Park, where about 600 children play in a youth baseball league called League 42, named after Robinson’s uniform number with the Brooklyn Dodgers, with whom he broke the color barrier in the big leagues in 1947. .

Fire crews found burned remains of the statue five days later while responding to a trash can fire in another park about 7 miles (11.27 kilometers) away. A truck believed to have been used in the earlier theft was found abandoned, and police said the theft of the statue, which was worth an estimated $75,000, was captured on surveillance video.

Donations poured in, approaching $300,000, said Bob Lutz, executive director of the Little League nonprofit that commissioned the sculpture.

Lutz has said some of the extra money raised could also improve some of its programming and facilities. In April, the group opened the Leslie Rudd Learning Center, which includes an indoor baseball facility and learning lab.

Lutz, whose friend, artist John Parsons, made the statue before his death, said the cast is still viable and anticipated that a replacement could be erected within months.

Robinson played for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues before joining the Brooklyn Dodgers, paving the way for generations of African-American players. He is considered not only a sports legend but also a civil rights icon. Robinson died in 1972.

By Sam