Stolen Jackie Robinson statue found “dismantled and burned” in Wichita, Kansas


Police in Kansas are searching for a suspect after a bronze statue of Jackie Robinson was vandalized and stolen last week. The dismantled remains of the artwork were found Tuesday morning by the Wichita Fire Department when it responded to a small trash fire.

Wichita police said Monday it had located the truck that was believed to be used in the theft of the artwork, but added that detectives and officers were still searching for the people responsible.

The life-size statue, which was erected in 2021 as part of the Jackie Robinson Pavilion in Wichita, is one of just four statues of the athlete in the nation. It was cut off from the ankles up and put in a pickup truck in the very early hours of Thursday morning, according to police.

Stolen Jackie Robinson statue
Stolen Jackie Robinson statue

Wichita Police Department

The burglary has sparked outrage from members of the community and League 42, the nonprofit organization that put the statue up. Police are not yet sure of the motive for the vandalism, and believe the perpetrators could have stolen the statue to salvage the bronze metal.

“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,” Wichita Police Department Chief Joe Sullivan said Friday in a news conference.

“What troubles me even more is that the theft occurred just before the beginning of February, which marks the start of Black History Month,” Sullivan said, adding that the timing of this robbery will be considered in the investigation.

Bob Lutz, the founder of League 42, said in a statement on the fundraising platform GoFundMe, “As law enforcement searches for the statue and the culprits of this crime, we remain devoted to our mission of providing low-cost baseball and education opportunities for our 600 kids, ages 5-14. They are as heartbroken over this theft as any of us and we are determined to either repair the original sculpture or create a new one.”



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