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Police make arrest in theft, destruction of Jackie Robinson statue - ESPN

The Wichita Police Department on Tuesday said an arrest has been made nearly three weeks after a Jackie Robinson statue was stolen from a park — and subsequently found dismantled days later.

Ricky Alderete, 45, is charged with felony theft (value over $25,000), aggravated criminal damage to property, identity theft and making false information. The statue, which police said was valued at $75,000, was stolen from McAdams Park, the home of League 42, a youth baseball league for about 600 children that commissioned and erected the statue in 2021.

«The investigation has not revealed any evidence indicating that this was a hate-motivated crime,» said Aaron Moses of the Wichita Police Department. «We believe this theft was motivated by the financial gain of scrapping common metal.»

Bob Lutz, the executive director of the Little League nonprofit, said «we're feeling good that someone is being held responsible, and I do believe that all individuals involved will be apprehended.»

The statue was cut at its ankles, only leaving bronze replicas of Robinson's cleats behind on an otherwise barren pedestal. Tony Workman, general manager of Art Castings of Colorado, which made the original work into the bronze statue, told ESPN that the Robinson statue was 95% copper.

Moses also said that police remain committed to identifying all individuals involved in the crime.

«We know from the surveillance video [released shortly after the statue was reported missing on Jan. 25] that were at least three individuals there when statue was taken,» Moses said, «and we know it was taken somewhere where other individuals were present.»

On Jan. 28, police recovered a vehicle that it believed to be connected to the case at an apartment complex in Wichita.