$75000 worth statue of famous baseball player stolen in Kansas, $7500 offered as reward for sharing whereabouts

Authorities are asking the public for assistance in locating the culprits who stole a monument of baseball hero Jackie Robinson from a public park in Wichita, Kansas.

Surveillance video recorded the thieves entering the Jackie Robinson Pavilion at McAdams Park about midnight on Thursday and taking the monument, which they placed in a pickup truck.

$75000 worth statue of famous baseball player stolen in Kansas, $7500 offered as reward for sharing whereabouts

The suspects took off the statue’s ankles, leaving only Robinson’s feet. The city believes that the damages are roughly $75,000.

“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 and our community gather to learn the history of Jackie Robinson, an American icon, and play the game of baseball,” Wichita Chief of Police Joe Sullivan said at a press conference on Friday. “We should all be upset about this. What bothers me even more is that the theft happened right before Black History Month began in February.”

The statue was created by artist John Parsons and donated to the city by League 42, a foundation named after Robinson’s Brooklyn Dodgers jersey number that attempts to bring baseball to Wichita’s youngsters.

According to the Associated Press, League 42 paid around $50,000 for the sculpture, which was installed in 2021.

“Overnight, something awful happened. “The Jackie Robinson statue at League 42’s McAdams Park facility has been stolen,” the non-profit stated on Facebook. “This is a gut punch to our organization.”

Councilman Brandon Johnson, a member of the Wichita City Council, stated during the news conference that he has spoken with numerous families who are hurt and disappointed that the statue was stolen.

“It was one of the few occasions in my life when I have been speechless. “This horrendous, disgusting act really made me pause,” Johnson explained. “So again, like the chief and the [district attorney] said, if you’ve got that statue, bring it here today, now.”

During the news conference, the Wichita Metro Crime Commission said that it is offering a $2,500 reward for leads that lead to arrests, as well as a separate $5,000 incentive for tips that lead to the statue’s whereabouts. The tips can be submitted anonymously.

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

Robinson is well recognized for becoming the first baseball player to break the color barrier in the contemporary era of Major League Baseball. Before signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, he played for the Negro league’s Kansas City Monarchs and the minor league Montreal Royals.

The signing marked the end of segregated baseball and encouraged additional Black players to enter the major leagues. During his stint with the Dodgers, Robinson was voted Rookie of the Year in 1947, National League MVP in 1949, six-time All-Star, and World Series champion in 1955.

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