WICHITA, Kan. — A prized statue of Jackie Robinson was stolen from a public park in Kansas, sparking a police investigation and outrage within the metropolis of Wichita on Friday.
The statue honors the primary participant to interrupt Main League Baseball’s colour barrier in 1947. Surveillance video was launched of two individuals dragging the sculpture away at the hours of darkness. Wichita police mentioned in a Fb publish that it was lacking Thursday morning.
The statue was lower on the ankles for elimination. All that remained of the statue Friday have been Robinson’s toes.
“I’m annoyed by the actions of these people who had the audacity to take away the Jackie Robinson statue from a park the place youngsters and households in our neighborhood come collectively to study and share the historical past of Jackie Robinson, an American icon. to play Jackie Robinson’s recreation. baseball,” Wichita Police Chief Joe Sullivan mentioned throughout a information convention Friday. “This could upset us all.”
Much more disturbing, he mentioned the theft of the statue got here 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 way in which for generations of black American ballplayers. He’s thought of not solely a sports activities legend, but additionally a civil rights icon.
Wichita Metropolis Councilman Brandon Johnson referred to as the theft “horrible” and “disgusting” and mentioned residents really feel harm and offended and are demanding justice.
“Lots of people need to discover these individuals earlier than regulation enforcement occurs,” Johnson mentioned. “So once more, because the commissioner and the district legal professional mentioned, in case you have that statue, carry it right here in the present day. Now.”
The Wichita Metro Crime Fee on Friday supplied a reward of as much as $2,500 for suggestions resulting in arrests, and one other $5,000 for suggestions resulting 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 those that robbed our neighborhood of treasure to be held accountable for his or her actions,” Sullivan mentioned. “And I guarantee you it will likely be true. Wichita Police Division assets have been mobilized.”
Little League nonprofit League 42, named after Robinson’s quantity with the Dodgers, paid about $50,000 for his mannequin, mentioned govt director Bob Lutz. The statue was put in in 2021 in McAdams Park, the place the roughly 600 youngsters play within the youth baseball league.