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BY Francis Akhalbey, 7:40am February 14, 2024,

Arrest made in theft and destruction of bronze Jackie Robinson statue

Ricky Alderete has been arrested and charged in connection with the theft of a Jackie Robinson statue -- Left photo credit: Wichita Police Department | Right photo via GoFundMe

Authorities in Kansas have arrested and charged a 45-year-old man in connection with the theft and subsequent destruction of a bronze Jackie Robinson statue, authorities on Tuesday announced, per NBC News. The burned remains of the life-sized statue, which was stolen from a Little League baseball field in Wichita, Kansas, on January 25, were later found in a trash can.

As previously reported by Face2Face Africa, the life-sized bronze statue in honor of the Black baseball legend was erected after the League 42 nonprofit raised over $50,000 for the initiative. Authorities had initially shared photos of the crime scene after the theft. The images showed that the only part that remained of the stolen statue was its ankle area. 

Wichita police said the suspect, identified as Ricky Alderete, faces charges including theft of value over $25,000, aggravated criminal damage to property, identity theft, and making false information. 

Authorities also said the case could not be linked to a hate crime as they suspect the statue was stolen with the aim of selling its metal. Police said they are still searching for more suspects, adding that security footage showed a group of people placing the statue in a truck after it was cut from its ankle area. The vehicle in question was later found abandoned. 

“This case started out with an area that is fairly secluded, and with good video tips, with a lot of good community effort, with other persons giving information,” police managed to identify “suspects on this case,” Wichita Police Sgt. Trevor McDonald said, NBC News reported.

“If you try to take something from this community, it won’t tolerate it,” Wichita Police Chief Joe Sullivan added. City Council member Brandon Johnson on Tuesday also said they were all “baffled and even talking earlier about why something like this would happen.”

“Hopefully this is a testament to all who might think about doing something like this in the future,” Johnson said. Alderete’s bond was set at $150,000.

League 42, which is named in honor of Robinson, is a “youth baseball league comprised primarily of urban children ages 5 – 14,” its website states. Robinson, who was the first Black player in Major League Baseball, wore number 42 during his professional career.

A GoFundMe, which was later set up to solicit funds to erect another statue of the baseball legend, raised more than $190,000.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: February 14, 2024


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