A Jackie Robinson Statue in Kansas Was Stolen and Found Burned

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to replace the monument.

A Jackie Robinson statue in Wichita was cut off at the ankles, dismantled and burned, police said. Photo courtesy of Wichita Police Department.

A statue of Jackie Robinson, the first Black player in Major League Baseball and a civil rights icon, was torn down and burned in Wichita, Kansas.

The statue was cut off just above the ankles, thrown in the back of a truck and stolen from McAdams Park in the night of January 24, officials with the Wichita Police Department said during a broadcasted news conference last week. Authorities have been hunting the suspect or suspects since then.

On January 30, firefighters were dispatched to a trash fire at the crosstown Garvey Park around 8:39 a.m. and extinguished a “small residential-style trash can” that was on fire, the Wichita Fire Department said on social media. The firefighters discovered some of the dismantled remains of the statue, but not all the pieces have been recovered.

Afterward, the police department provided an update that investigators from its property crimes bureau found the truck believed to have been used in the theft. The owner of the truck was not identified.

“Detectives are continuing to follow promising leads that we are confident will result in an arrest,” police said in the statement. “We are still asking the public for help in bringing the people responsible for this horrible act into custody.“

The Jackie Robinson statue in McAdams Park in Wichita. Photo courtesy of Wichita Police Department.

The statue was installed at McAdams Park in April 2021 by League 42, the local nonprofit Little League organization for children. The league takes its name from the number Robinson wore on his jersey when he signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

As the team’s first Black player in 1947, Robinson emerged as a stalwart for racial equality. After his retirement, Robinson continued to fight for civil rights, joining marches and demonstrations, and discussing social justice issues in his syndicated column, “Jackie Robinson Says.” He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

League 42 has since launched a GoFundMe campaign to replace the statue and has raised more than $130,000. “It was found in disrepair and cannot be repaired,” Bob Lutz, the executive director of League 42, said in a message about the sculpture. The league has maintained the mold used to cast the original statue.

He added the Little League organization remains devoted to providing low-cost baseball and education opportunities for 600 children in its programs. “They are as heartbroken over this theft as any of us,” Lutz said. “We are determined to replace the statue.”

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