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Two people allegedly stole a statue of baseball legend and American civil rights icon Jackie Robinson from a public park in Wichita, Kansas, Thursday morning.
The statue was snatched from McAdams Park.
“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.”
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This March 4, 1946, file photo shows Jackie Robinson of the Montreal Royals in Sanford, Fla. (AP Photo/Bill Chaplis, File)
Wichita City Council member Brandon Johnson called the theft “horrendous” and “disgusting,” and said residents are feeling hurt and angry and are demanding justice.
“Many people want to find those folks before law enforcement,” Johnson said. “So, again, like the chief and the (district attorney) said, if you’ve got that statue, bring it here today. Now.”
Police offered rewards of up to $5,000 for tips leading to the statue’s recovery, but police said the thieves will be brought to justice.
Jackie Robinson (1919-1972) of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1951. (Keystone/Getty Images)
“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.”
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The $50,000 sculpture was placed in 2021 at McAdams Park, where roughly 600 children play in a youth baseball league.
Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers after playing in the Negro Leagues. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, his first time on the ballot.
In the majors, Robinson hit .313, won an MVP in 1949 and was named an All-Star six times. He also was a Negro League All-Star, giving him seven all-star nods in professional baseball.
A portrait of the Brooklyn Dodgers’ infielder Jackie Robinson in uniform in 1945. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
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Robinson died in 1972 at the age of 53, and it’s widely thought the stress he endured throughout his playing days contributed to an early death.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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