Outcry ensues after Jackie statue stolen from park

January 27th, 2024

Police are searching for a prized statue of  that was stolen from a park in Wichita, Kansas, early Thursday morning. The theft has sparked outrage across the city.

Surveillance video was released showing two people hauling the statue away in the dark and loading it into a silver pickup truck. The thieves cut the statue at the ankles to remove it, leaving only the feet behind.

"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," Wichita police chief Joe Sullivan said during a news conference Friday. "This should upset all of us."

In a Facebook post on Thursday, the Wichita Police Department asked for help from the community to locate the statue. The Wichita Metro Crime Commission is offering $2,500 for information leading to arrests and an additional $5,000 for tips leading to the statue’s return.

"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 said. "And I assure you, they will. The resources of the Wichita Police Department have been mobilized."

Wichita City Council member Brandon Johnson called the theft "horrendous" and "disgusting" and urged the perpetrators to bring the statue back.

“Like the chief and the [district attorney] said, if you've got that statue, bring it here today. Now."

Robinson made his MLB debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947, breaking baseball’s color barrier and paving the way for generations of Black players to come. Before his Dodgers debut, Robinson played for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues.

The Robinson statue was installed in McAdams Park in 2021. League 42, a local nonprofit named after Robinson’s number with the Dodgers, paid about $50,000 for the sculpture of the baseball legend and civil rights icon, according to League 42 executive director Bob Lutz.