Jackie Robinson Statue Stolen from Kansas Park Sparks Outrage and Police Search

Wichita, Kan. – A bronze statue honoring baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson was stolen from a public park in Wichita, Kansas, causing outrage among the community and prompting a police investigation. The statue, which pays tribute to the first player to break Major League Baseball’s color barrier in 1947, went missing on Thursday morning. Surveillance video released by the Wichita police shows two individuals removing the sculpture under the cover of darkness.

The theft of the statue has sparked widespread condemnation and disbelief. Wichita police Chief Joe Sullivan expressed his frustration, stating, “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.” The incident is particularly disheartening as it occurred just before Black History Month.

Jackie Robinson’s impact on American sports and civil rights is immeasurable. Before joining the Brooklyn Dodgers, Robinson played for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues, paving the way for future generations of Black American ballplayers. As both a sports legend and a civil rights icon, the theft of his statue has deeply affected the Wichita community.

The Wichita Metro Crime Commission has offered a reward of up to $2,500 for any tips leading to arrests in connection with the theft, with an additional $5,000 reward for the statue’s recovery. Chief Sullivan called on local salvage yards to report any suspicious activity or attempts to sell the stolen statue.

Wichita City Council member Brandon Johnson described the theft as “horrendous” and “disgusting,” expressing the community’s anger and demand for justice. Johnson also urged anyone in possession of the statue to return it immediately.

The stolen statue, valued at around $50,000, was purchased by the Little League nonprofit organization League 42. The organization, named after Robinson’s jersey number, installed the sculpture in 2021 at McAdams Park, where hundreds of children participate in youth baseball.

As the investigation continues, the Wichita community remains hopeful that the statue will be recovered and the perpetrators held accountable for their actions. The incident serves as a reminder of the enduring legacy of Jackie Robinson and the ongoing struggle for racial equality in America.