Stolen Jackie Robinson Statue Found Burnt and Destroyed Beyond Repair

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By: ScreenGawk Staff | Published: Feb 10, 2024

A statue of baseball icon Jackie Robinson that went missing in Wichita, Kansas, has unfortunately been found in a state beyond repair.

A photograph of the Jackie Robinson statue that formerly sat in the Wichita park

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Firefighters who discovered the prized possession of the small community revealed it had been severely burned and broken into numerous pieces.

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Jackie Robinson is considered by many to be one of the greatest baseball places ever to grace the game.

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American baseball player Jackie Robinson pictured on the field during a game in the 1950s.

Source: Archive/Getty Images

But his legacy goes beyond his skill set. During the 20th century, he became the first Black American to play Major League Baseball in the U.S.

Breaking the Color Barrier

Robinson’s debut is considered by many to be a turning point in U.S. history. He broke through the color barrier when he stepped foot on the field for the Dodgers in a match against the Boston Braves in 1947.

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A general view of the Jackie Robinson statue is seen before the MLB game between the Colorado Rockies and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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Robinson would go on to play over 1,382 games during his lifetime.

Robinson Statue Erected in Wichita

In honor of the baseball stars’ career, a local league in Wichita, Kansas, erected a life-size statue of the star in 2021.

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Atlanta Braves fans stand with a statue of Jackie Robinson before an MLB game between the Miami Marlins and Atlanta Braves

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The cast statue stood in McAdams Park for over three years until shocking news revealed it had been stolen last week.

Video Footage Shows Criminals Leaving the Scene

According to reports, the criminals were seen on security footage cutting the statue at its base and hauling it from the site in the early hours of the morning.

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A criminal dressed in all black lurks around a black car at night

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The criminals then loaded the Robinson statue onto a truck that police soon found abandoned a short distance from the crime.

Firefighters Find Statue in Pieces

Less than a week after the disappearance of the statue, the fire department of Wichita received a callout to a fire.

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Firefighter readies his hose to extinguish a small fire

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When they arrived on the scene, they discovered a trash can was ablaze, and within were the destroyed remains of the Robinson statue.

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Fire Department Launch Full Investigation

Unfortunately, firefighters realized the statue had been cut into sections. Those found in the fire were beyond repair. The rest of the statue has not yet been found.

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A crime scene investigator places a piece of evidence into a clear plastic bag

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“Wichita Fire Department arson investigators are investigating the fire aspect of this incident,” said police spokesman Andrew Ford, who added that authorities have conducted more than a hundred interviews,” officials said.

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Police Aim to Find Those Responsible

The Wichita police department is treating the case with severity, and their chief, Joe Sullivan, claims they will find those responsible for the crime.

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The remains of the Jackie Robinson statue that once sat in the Wichita park

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“Whether you’re involved with stealing the statue, whether or not you accepted the statue, you were part of the destruction of the statue,” Sullivan said. “It would be in your best interest to simply turn yourself in.”

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Heartbreaking Discovery

Brandon Johnson, a Witchia’s City Council member, spoke about the unfortunate situation during an interview.

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A sad fan sits inside a stadium with his hands covering his face

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“I hate to see that this statue is not in one piece,” he said. “I do want everyone to know that we are undeterred in making sure that statue gets rebuilt and put back there for our community.”

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Plans to Replace the Statue

Plans to replace the statue of the iconic star are already underway. The statue was originally cast with the help of Wichita’s League 42, a youth league named after Robinson.

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A man wears safety goggles as he cuts through a sheet of metal

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According to Bob Lutz, the founder of the league, they have already recovered the original mold for the first statue.

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Community in Need of a Little Joy

After the deliberate destruction of the former statue, Lutz claims the community is in need of joy.

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A group of people gather together and cheer on the grass of a park

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“It will mean everything. It will be a joyous occasion,” Lutz said. “Unlike the past five days, we’re ready for some joy. We’re ready for some happiness, and we’re going to pursue that in the best way that we can.”

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Funding the New Statue

The hardest part, according to Lutz, will be financing the statue.

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A man dressed in a black shirt receives a wrapped package from a friend

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Reports suggest the original statue cost over $75,000. Once the money has been raised, the construction of the replacement will commence.

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