Arrest made in the theft and destruction of Jackie Robinson statue

AP reports that a 45-year-old man was arrested in the theft of a bronze Jackie Robinson statue that was cut off at the ankles and found days later smoldering in a trash can in a city park in Kansas, police announced Tuesday.


Ricky Alderete was taken into custody earlier this month in a kidnapping case and charged Monday with four counts stemming from the theft and a 2022 case, records show. CNN notes, Authorities added that more than 100 interviews were conducted in the search for suspects. “This was a painstaking investigation,” said Police Chief Joe Sullivan.

Wichita Police say Alderete was already in custody for another case unrelated to the statue when he was charged. Court records show he had been charged with kidnapping and aggravated burglary, in addition to other charges, for an incident on February 1, one week after the Jackie Robinson statue was stolen.

Wichita police Lt. Aaron Moses said there was no evidence it was a “hate-motivated crime” but rather the intent was to sell the metal for scrap.

Thieves cut the bronze statue from its base last month at a park in Wichita, Kansas. Only the statue’s feet were left at McAdams Park, where about 600 children play in a youth baseball league called League 42. It is named after Robinson’ s uniform number with the Brooklyn Dodgers, with whom he broke the major leagues’ color barrier in 1947.

Fire crews found burned remnants of the statue five days later while responding to a trash can fire at another park about 7 miles (11.27 kilometers) away. A truck believed to be used in the theft previously was found abandoned, and police said the theft of the statue was captured on surveillance video.

As noted in the initial article, with the truck used to haul the statue was recovered early and the suspects were seen on video.


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