A prized Jackie Robinson statue was stolen from a public park in Kansas by thieves who sawed off the bronze sculpture, leaving behind the iconic baseball player’s feet.
The brazen theft slammed by officials as “horrendous” and “disgusting” took place just one week before the start of Black History Month. “More than frustrated, I am angry to see that this has happened,” said Wichita City Council member Brandon Johnson. “This was disgusting. This should never happen.”
According to news reports the thieves struck sometime during the night at the League 42 baseball fields in McAdams Park, which is also home to the Jackie Robinson Pavilion. Surveillance footage shows at least two people topple the hefty statue and load it into a silver pick-up truck. City officials theorize the criminals are planning on selling the beloved statue as scrap metal. The sculpture cost the city upwards of $100,000 to install in 2021.
“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives,” Jackie Robinson
“It has a huge impact in regards to the history of our community, the history of baseball, what Jackie Robinson really means and this step is actually the opposite of everything that Jackie Robinson stood for. So it’s just appalling to me,” said Troy Houtman, the Director of Parks and Recreation.
According to Houtman, the park has been dealing with a string of vandalism in recent months, and officials are offering the opportunity to return the iconic statue “no questions asked.” “We move on and repair this statue. Hopefully, they’re wise enough to do that and bring the statue back so we can make the repair. If not, I think we’ll find some other actions might occur,” said Houtman. The Wichita Metro Crime Commission offered a reward of up to $2,500 for tips leading to arrests and another $5,000 for tips that lead to the statue’s recovery.
- Charred remnants of the stolen Jackie Robinson bronze statue were found Tuesday inside a trash can at a Kansas park, officials said. Pieces of the statue were dumped in the garbage and lit on fire at Garvey Park in Wichita, a police spokesperson said during a press conference streamed by KWCH.