March 2, 2024


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Jackie Robinson statue stolen from Kansas park;  Authorities are offering a reward of up to $7,500 for tips

Jackie Robinson statue stolen from Kansas park; Authorities are offering a reward of up to $7,500 for tips

The city estimates up to $75,000 in damage

Authorities are calling on the public to help find the suspects who stole a statue of baseball legend Jackie Robinson from a public park in Wichita, Kansas.

Surveillance video showed the suspects entering the Jackie Robinson Pavilion at McAdams Park around midnight Thursday and removing the statue and placing it in a pickup truck.

The suspects cut off the statue at the ankles, leaving behind only Robinson's feet. The city estimates damage at about $75,000.

“I am frustrated by the actions of these individuals who dared to take a Jackie Robinson statue from a park where children, families and our community come together to learn about the history of Jackie Robinson, an American icon, and play a game of baseball,” Wichita Police Chief Joe Sullivan said during the day on Friday. Press Conference. “This should disturb us all. What disturbs me even more is that the theft occurred right before the beginning of February, which marks the beginning of Black History Month.”

The statue was built by artist John Parsons and donated to the community by League 42, a non-profit organization named after Robinson's number with the Brooklyn Dodgers that aims to introduce baseball to Wichita's youth.

According to the News agencyLeague 42 paid about $50,000 for the statue, which was installed in 2021.

“Overnight, something truly terrible happened. The Jackie Robinson statue at our McAdams Park facility was stolen for the 42nd League,” the nonprofit wrote in a letter. Share Facebook. “This is a huge blow to our organization.”

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Councilman Brandon Johnson, a Wichita City Council member, said during the press conference that he has spoken to many families who are hurt and disappointed by the theft of the statue.

“It was one of the few times in my life that I was speechless,” Johnson said. “This horrific and disgusting act gave me pause.” “So again, like President W [district attorney] He said, 'If you have this statue, bring it here today, right now.'

The Wichita Metro Crime Commission said during the press conference that it is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to arrests and a separate reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the statue being found. Tips can be submitted anonymously.

“Once the statue is returned, we also want to hold the individuals who stole a treasure from our community accountable for their actions, and I assure you they will,” Sullivan said. “The resources of the Wichita Police Department have been mobilized.”

Robinson is known as the first baseball player to break the color barrier in the modern era of Major League Baseball. He played for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro League and for the minor league Montreal Royals before signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.

The signing signaled the end of segregated baseball and led to other black players joining the major leagues. During his time with the Dodgers, Robinson won Rookie of the Year in 1947, was named the National League Most Valuable Player in 1949, was a six-time All-Star and won the World Series in 1955.

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