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Jackie Robinson statue stolen from baseball field in Kansas

Jackie Robinson

WICHITA, Kan. — Police are searching for a suspect and a Jackie Robinson statue that was stolen Thursday morning from a park in Wichita, Kansas.

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The Wichita Police Department said on Thursday that a statue of the baseball Hall of Famer was stolen overnight from the League 42 Baseball fields at 17th Street North and Ohio.

Police said the statue was cut at the ankles and taken away in a truck, police said, according to The Washington Post.

The statue was stolen from McAdams Park, which is the home of League 42, according to the Post. League 42 is a youth league that was named after Robinson’s jersey number.

The theft of the statue also happened days before Black History Month, which begins on Feb. 1, according to the newspaper.

“No matter the motivation of those who were involved, they were not only stealing from the community, they’re also stealing from the legacy of work that has been put in by the members of League 42,” Brandon Johnson, a member of the Wichita city council, said at a news conference Friday, according to the Post. “But more importantly, they’re stealing from the kids.”

A $2,500 reward for tips leading to the stolen statue is being offered, according to KSNW. There is also a $5,000 reward for the person who returns it.

“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 on Friday, according to MLB.com. “This should upset all of us.”

This is OUR time to come together as a community to find out who would do such a horrible thing to OUR community,” police said.

Robinson made his major league debut on April 15, 1947, with the Brooklyn Dodgers, according to MLB.com. He helped break the modern color barrier in baseball and paved the way for future Black baseball players. Before his MLB debut, Robinson played for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues. He would be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

The Robinson statue was installed in 2021 at McAdams Park. The statue at the time cost about $50,000, League 42 executive director Bob Lutz said, according to MLB.com.