Prized Jackie Robinson statue was stolen from Kansas park

A prized statue of Jackie Robinson was stolen from a public park in Kansas, spurring a police search Friday and outrage throughout the town of Wichita.

The statue honors the primary participant to interrupt Main League Baseball’s shade barrier in 1947. Surveillance video was launched of two folks hauling the sculpture away at nighttime. Wichita police mentioned in a Fb put up that it went lacking Thursday morning.

The statue was reduce on the ankles to be eliminated. All that remained of the statue Friday had been Robinson’s ft.

“I am annoyed by the actions of these people who had the audacity to take the statue of Jackie Robinson from a park the place children and households in our group collect to study the historical past of Jackie Robinson, an American icon, and play the sport of baseball,” Wichita police Chief Joe Sullivan mentioned throughout a information convention Friday. “This could upset all of us.”

He mentioned much more troubling was the statue’s theft shortly earlier than Black Historical past Month.

Robinson performed for the Kansas Metropolis Monarchs of the Negro Leagues earlier than becoming a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers, paving the best way for generations of Black American ballplayers. He is thought of not solely a sports activities legend but additionally a civil rights icon.

Wichita Metropolis Council member Brandon Johnson known as the theft “horrendous” and “disgusting,” and mentioned that residents are feeling harm and indignant, and demanding justice.

“Many individuals need to discover these of us earlier than regulation enforcement,” Johnson mentioned. “So once more, just like the chief and the (district legal professional) mentioned, should you’ve obtained that statue, deliver it right here immediately. Now.”

The Wichita Metro Crime Fee provided a reward Friday of as much as $2,500 for suggestions resulting in arrests and one other $5,000 for suggestions that result in the statue’s restoration.

Sullivan mentioned he hopes space salvage yards will contact police if the statue is introduced in for cash.

“As soon as the statue is returned, we additionally need the people who robbed our group of a treasure to be held accountable for his or her actions,” Sullivan mentioned. “And I guarantee you, they are going to. The assets of the Wichita Police Division have been mobilized.”

Little League nonprofit League 42, named after Robinson’s quantity with the Dodgers, paid about $50,000 for the mannequin of him, Government Director Bob Lutz mentioned. The sculpture was put in in 2021 in McAdams Park, the place the roughly 600 kids play within the youth baseball league.

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