Stolen Jackie Robinson statue found burned in a trash can, as authorities in Kansas made a grim discovery at Garvey Park in Wichita. During a streamed press conference by KWCH, a police spokesperson revealed that pieces of the statue had been dumped in the garbage and set ablaze. Firefighters responding to a call about the trash can flames around 8:40 a.m. stumbled upon the destroyed remnants of the iconic figure.
"This was a heartbreaking discovery this morning," Wichita Councilman Brandon Johnson said during the press conference. "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."
Last Thursday night, much of the statue disappeared after vandals severed it at the ankles on the League 42 baseball fields within McAdams Park, where the Jackie Robinson Pavilion stands proudly. This revered monument commemorates the groundbreaking achievement of Jackie Robinson, who bravely shattered Major League Baseball's color barrier in 1947 by joining the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Currently, no arrests have been made in connection with the theft. According to Wichita Police Chief Joe Sullivan, the statue's burning is a severe retaliation for the investigators' increased focus on the perpetrators. The police have conducted over 100 interviews and are gathering numerous pieces of doorbell footage as part of their investigation.
So for those of you who are in any way involved in this, it is only a matter of time and it would be in your best interest to simply turn yourself in, come forward, and admit your part in this, but either way we will be arresting several people for what they’ve done to our community.- Joe Sullivan
Surveillance footage captured at least two individuals toppling the statue and loading it into a silver pickup truck. Before the distressing discovery on Tuesday, authorities had extended an offer to the thieves, urging them to return the statue "no questions asked."
Jackie Robinson's legacy resonates profoundly in baseball history. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1962, he was the first black player to earn this prestigious honor in Cooperstown.
A fleet-footed infielder with a remarkable 313 career batting average in MLB, Robinson initially made his mark with the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues before making history with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Each year, Major League Baseball pays tribute to this civil rights icon by having every player don Robinson's jersey number, 42.
League 42, named in honor of Robinson, is actively raising funds to replace the sculpture, according to Bob Lutz, the non-profit's executive director. Through a GoFundMe page, nearly $80,000 has been gathered thus far. Lutz expressed that after a week filled with sorrow, the community is now eager to embrace some joy.