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A cherished statue of baseball legend Jackie Robinson, which was stolen from a park in Kansas was found burned beyond repair.

On Tuesday (Jan. 30), fire crews in Wichita, Kansas, responded to a call of a trash fire at Garvey Park in the southern part of the city. Upon arriving, they found pieces of bronze in the rubble of the fire, which they determined were the remains of a prized bronze statue of Jackie Robinson stolen from outside of McAdams Park the week before, cut off at the ankles. A police spokesperson, Andrew Ford, said that the damage made the statue “not salvageable.”

The statue was built and installed in 2021 with $50,000 in proceeds from the Level 42 Foundation in honor of the man who broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Jackie Robinson played with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues before joining the Dodgers. McAdams Park is home to a youth league with 600 participants as well as educational programs.

Surveillance video of the theft caught two individuals making off with the statue. Police have said that they’ve conducted over 100 interviews about the crime. “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 to reporters. “There will be arrests, but we’re going to make sure that when we do, we will have a solid case,” he said, adding that for anyone involved in the theft “it is only a matter of time.”

“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 Level 42 Executive Director Bob Lutz. He said in an interview with ESPN that there will be a new statue that will look like the old one, which was done by artist John Parsons. Lutz said the mold from the late artist is still viable and it could be done and re-erected in months.

City officials are in accord with Lutz and the foundation, with Wichita City Councilman Brandon Johnson stating he will ensure the statue’s return. “We will continue to invest in this community, and this tragic incident will not remove that hope that we all have for the area,” he said to the press. Donations are being collected through an online fundraiser, with $11,000 raised and an end goal of $100,000

Stolen Jackie Robinson Statue In Kansas Found Burned  was originally published on hiphopwired.com

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