Five days after a statue of Jackie Robinson was cut at the ankles and stolen from a public park, it was found burned in a trash can.
On Tuesday, January 30, fire crews found the burned remnants of the bronze statue that went missing on January 25, cut at the baseball hero’s ankles.
Robinson was the first player to break Major League Baseball’s color barrier in 1947.
According to the Associated Press, the Wichita fire department received a call about a trash can on fire and discovered what appeared to be pieces of the statue. Police spokesperson Andrew Ford described the statue as “not salvageable” during a press conference that day.
“If it turns out it was racially motivated, then obviously that is a deeper societal issue and it certainly would make this a much more concerning theft,” said Bob Lutz, Executive Director of the Little League nonprofit that commissioned the sculpture. “We’ll wait and see what this turns out to be.”
The statue was installed in 2022 in McAdams Park, paid for by League 42, which is named after Robinson’s Dodgers number. The AP noted roughly 600 children play in the youth baseball league at the park which also offers educational programs.
“Yes, it’s really disheartening to see the remnants of the statue and the disgraceful way in which it has been disrespected,” Wichita police Chief Joe Sullivan said.
“There will be arrests, but we’re going to make sure that when we do, we will have a solid case,” he said.
Jackie Robinson is not only a sports legend but also a highly regarded civil rights icon.
Fundraising through local businesses and online has begun to build and install a replacement statue.