Arrest Made in Theft and Burning of Jackie Robinson Statue in Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. — Wichita police have announced the arrest of Ricky Alderete, a 45-year-old man, in connection with the theft and subsequent burning of a bronze statue of baseball legend Jackie Robinson. The statue, which had an estimated value of $75,000, was stolen from McAdams Park last month and later found dismantled and burned at another park.

According to Wichita police Lt. Aaron Moses, Alderete was taken into custody earlier this month in an unrelated case and was charged on Monday in connection with the theft. While there is no evidence suggesting a hate-motivated crime, authorities believe the motive behind the theft was to sell the metal for scrap.

Wichita police Chief Joe Sullivan stated that Alderete’s arrest is just the first in a series of arrests related to the case. However, he did not disclose how the police identified Alderete as a suspect. Sullivan emphasized the community’s intolerance for such acts and expressed his eagerness to share more details about the investigation once additional suspects are apprehended.

Alderete, who has a criminal record that includes burglary and theft, is currently held on a $150,000 bond. He faces charges of felony theft, aggravated criminal damage to property, identity theft, making false information, contempt of court, kidnapping, and a probation violation.

The theft of the statue, which depicted Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball, deeply impacted the community. McAdams Park is home to League 42, a youth baseball league named after Robinson’s uniform number with the Brooklyn Dodgers. The theft left only the statue’s feet behind, leaving the children and the league devastated.

Following the incident, donations poured in, reaching nearly $300,000, according to Bob Lutz, executive director of the Little League nonprofit that commissioned the sculpture. Lutz mentioned that the excess funds could be used to enhance programming and facilities. He also expressed confidence that a replacement statue could be erected within a few months, as the mold is still viable.

Jackie Robinson, a former player for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues, broke the color barrier in 1947 when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. He is not only remembered as a sports legend but also as a civil rights icon. Robinson passed away in 1972, but his legacy continues to inspire generations of Black American ballplayers.


Author: CrimeDoor

Leave a Reply

Share on:

[mailpoet_form id="1"]

Subscribe to Our Newsletter