Two south valley men are behind bars, accused of stealing and recycling a Miracle League of Visalia statue. The statue disappeared a little over a week ago. An anonymous tip led police to the suspected thieves on Friday.
The statue used to sit here, it was special piece. One of three bronze statues at the Miracle League of Visalia baseball field.
"People took pictures of their kids around that statue."
Gary Geiger runs the league. He says the statue was three and half feet tall, weighed 150 pounds, but it wasn't bolted down like the others. Still, he can't believe anyone would steal it.
"The fact that anyone would do it, not only is it a facility for special needs kids and adults, but it's on the grounds of a church."
Police say these two men, Jason Kaloustian and Richard Morrison somehow managed to take it. An anonymous tip led to officers to Morrison's door, but the statue was already gone.
"These two suspects had dismantled the statue they cut it up and the statue was recycled for money, that's the motivation for this theft."
All that's left is the marble base. Geiger says it's a $4,000 loss. But not worth nearly as much in the hands of a thief.
"I talked to a bronze guy today and they might have got a hundred dollars for it."
An anonymous donor bought a new statue. It should be in place in eight weeks. It's not an identical statue but it's enough to fill the void.