Stolen Jackie Robinson statue found 'dismantled and burned,' police say

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A stolen statue of the legendary Hall of Famer and civil rights icon Jackie Robinson was found destroyed on Tuesday morning.

The statue was snatched from McAdams Park in Wichita, Kansas last week.

The Wichita Fire Department was called to a trash can fire at Garvey Park around 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning where they discovered remnants of the stolen statue.


Circa 1945: A portrait of the Brooklyn Dodgers’ infielder Jackie Robinson in uniform. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

“This was a heartbreaking discovery this morning,” Wichita City Council Member Brandon Johnson said during a press conference, via Fox 4 Kansas City. “I hate to see that the statue was not in one piece, but I do want everyone to know that we are undeterred in making sure that that statue gets rebuilt and put back there for our community, for League 42, for the young people. That symbol of hope will only be gone for a short time.”

Johnson urged the community to donate to a fund set up by League 42 for a replacement statue.

“We’re no longer looking for a complete, intact statue. We know now we need to raise money to replace it, and we will do so,” Johnson said.

Jackie Robinson watching on the field

This March 4, 1946, file photo shows Jackie Robinson of the Montreal Royals baseball team, in Sanford, Fla. Already at the forefront on the 75th anniversary of breaking baseball’s color barrier, Jackie Robinson’s life, legacy and impact is honored as part of the 2022 baseball All-Star Game in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Bill Chaplis, File)


“Obviously, this is not the result we wanted, but it is a result, and now we can move on,” League 42 founder Bob Lutz said. “We know what’s ahead of us. We know we’re going to incorporate a brand-new statue that looks exactly like the old one.”

The statue was taken from just above the ankles, and the thieves have not yet been discovered. However, police said they believe they found the pick-up truck used in the crime, and they have “promising” leads.

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.

Jackie Robinson signs with a baseball team

Jackie Robinson, in military uniform, becomes the first African American to sign with a white professional baseball team. He signs a contract with the minor league club in Montreal, a farm team for the Brooklyn Dodgers. (Getty Images)


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.

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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