Jackie Robinson Statue Found ‘Not Salvageable’ After Being Sawed Off At The Ankles By Thieves

2 mins read
Jackie Robinson
Photo Credit: "Jackie Robinson, Journal Square" by zaxouzo is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/?ref=openverse.

A bronze statue of legendary baseball slugger Jackie Robinson was discovered burned in a trash can after being brazenly stolen by thieves, who cut the sculpture off at the ankles last week.

Wichita, Kansas residents were beside themselves after the likeness of the civil rights hero and first black man to play in Major League Baseball was snatched days before Black History Month begins.

Jackie Robinson shoes left behind after statue theft

A pair of thieves were caught on surveillance footage lugging the statue away in the early hours of last Thursday.

After sawing the effigy off at the ankles, they left behind only Robinson’s cleated feet and the base they stand upon.

The Wichita Metro Crime Commission offered $2,500 for tips leading to the suspects’ arrests, and $5,000 for the statue’s return.

It was commissioned Little League nonprofit League 42, which is named after Robinson’s number while he played for the Dodgers, and installed in McAdams Park in 2021.

The nonprofit paid around $50,000 for the carving of Robinson, who broke racial boundaries for black players when he came up from the Negro Leagues’ Kansas City Monarchs to join the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Jackie Robinson Stats

Robinson became Rookie of the Year in 1947 and was an All-Star for six consecutive seasons in the MLB.

After effectively ending racial segregation in the league, he spent all ten years of his career with the Dodgers.

Throughout his lengthy tenure with the club, he hit 141 home runs, batted in another 761, and had a cumulative batting average of .313.

Residents of Wichita are absolutely beside themselves after the theft, and Wichita City Council member Brandon Johnson warned that the mob wants justice for the “horrendous” act.

“Many people want to find those folks before law enforcement,” Johnson remarked.

“So again, like the chief and the (district attorney) said, if you’ve got that statue, bring it here today. Now.”

Jackie Robinson statue theft criminal investigation

Wichita police Chief Joe Sullivan said that the theft “should upset all of us,” during a press conference on Friday.

“I’m frustrated by the actions of those individuals who had the audacity to take the statue of Jackie Robinson from a park where kids and families in our community gather to learn the history of Jackie Robinson, an American icon, and play the game of baseball,” he commented.

Sullivan got the word out to local salvage yards that the suspects may try to scrap the statue for cash, and encouraged them to call the police if they show up.

He also let the criminals know that their actions wouldn’t be glossed over by the law.

“Once the statue is returned, we also want the individuals who robbed our community of a treasure to be held accountable for their actions,” Sullivan warned.

“And I assure you, they will. The resources of the Wichita Police Department have been mobilized,” he concluded.

Jackie Robinson statue found

The statue didn’t end up getting scrapped, but was instead likely burnt by criminals that needed to dispose of the evidence with the police hot on their trail.

The Wichita fire department discovered pieces of the statue on fire in a trash can located in Garvey Park on Tuesday morning.

According to a spokesperson from the police department, the statue was “not salvageable.”

Sullivan said that finding the remains of the statue on fire was a “direct indication of the pressure” the crooks felt from the investigation into the theft.

“It’s really disheartening to see the remnants of the statue and the disgraceful way in which it has been disrespected,” he remarked.

“There will be arrests, but we’re going to make sure that when we do, we will have a solid case,” he concluded, noting that finding those responsible would only be “a matter of time.”

Jackie Robinson statue fundraiser

In the meantime, a fundraiser has been organized by the League 42 Foundation to replace the statue.

They have raised over $167,000 of a $175,000 goal through a GoFundMe page that was set up five days ago.

The organization plans to use any additional funds raised beyond replacing Robinson’s likeness to fund the baseball programs the foundation created in his name supports.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Latest from Blog