Arrest made in theft of Jackie Robinson statue, was it racially motivated?

A 45-year-old man was arrested within the theft of a bronze Jackie Robinson statue that was minimize off on the ankles and located days later smoldering in a trash can in a metropolis park in Kansas, police introduced Tuesday.

Ricky Alderete was taken into custody earlier this month in a kidnapping case and charged Monday with 4 counts stemming from the theft and a 2022 case, data present. Wichita police Lt. Aaron Moses stated there was no proof it was a “hate-motivated crime” however fairly the intent was to promote the steel for scrap.

Wichita police Chief Joe Sullivan stated it was “solely the primary arrest” and that there have been extra to come back. He didn’t specify how police decided Alderete was a suspect within the theft.

“Whenever you attempt to take one thing from this group, it will not tolerate it,” he stated, including that he was wanting to share extra particulars in regards to the investigation after extra suspects are in custody.

Messages left with numbers believed to belong to his members of the family weren’t instantly returned. His legal professional within the public defender’s workplace did not instantly return a telephone message from The Related Press in search of remark.

Robinson’s bronze state was minimize from its base in January

Thieves minimize the bronze statue from its base final month at a park in Wichita, Kansas. Solely the statue’s ft had been left at McAdams Park, the place about 600 youngsters play in a youth baseball league referred to as League 42. It’s named after Robinson’ s uniform quantity with the Brooklyn Dodgers, with whom he broke the key leagues’ coloration barrier in 1947.

Hearth crews discovered burned remnants of the statue 5 days later whereas responding to a trash can hearth at one other park about 7 miles (11.27 kilometers) away. A truck believed for use within the theft beforehand was discovered deserted, and police stated the theft of the statue was captured on surveillance video.

Alderete, who’s jailed on $150,000 bond, faces costs of felony theft and aggravated legal harm to property within the statue case. He additionally was charged Monday with id theft and making false info in an October 2022 incident involving a pawn ticket, the criticism stated.

Police offered no particulars in regards to the case that led to his arrest. However on-line courtroom data additionally present he is also charged with kidnapping and aggravated housebreaking. The legal criticism stated that he entered a Wichita dwelling on Feb. 1 with the intent to kidnap somebody as a part of an effort to intrude with legislation enforcement.

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Suspect in statue theft has a legal document

Alderete additionally has a legal document that features housebreaking and theft, state correction division data present.

Requested what number of others would possibly face costs, Moses stated three folks had been seen on the surveillance video. He additionally famous that the statue was taken to a location the place others had been current. He stated he may supply no additional particulars as a result of it was an energetic investigation.

Donations poured in after the theft, approaching $300,000, stated Bob Lutz, govt director of the Little League nonprofit that commissioned the sculpture.

“The facility of Jackie Robinson is extraordinarily sturdy in 2024 and that is testomony to what he stood for,” Lutz stated.

Photo from March 4, 1946, shows Jackie Robinson of the Montreal Royals baseball team, in Sanford, Florida.

Photograph from March 4, 1946, reveals Jackie Robinson of the Montreal Royals baseball crew, in Sanford, Florida.

Lutz, whose good friend, the artist John Parsons, made the statue earlier than his dying, stated the mildew remains to be viable and anticipated {that a} alternative may be erected inside a matter of months. He estimated it will price round $50,000 to exchange the statue itself, leaving extra cash that could possibly be used to reinforce a few of its programming and services.

“It’ll be put to good use,” he stated. In April, for example, the group opened the Leslie Rudd Studying Heart, which incorporates an indoor baseball facility and a studying lab.

Robinson performed for the Kansas Metropolis Monarchs of the Negro Leagues earlier than becoming a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers, paving the best way for generations of Black American ballplayers. He is thought-about not solely a sports activities legend but additionally a civil rights icon. Robinson died in 1972.

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