About two weeks in the past, I documented and commented on the theft and vandalism of a statue of Jackie Robinson in Wichita, Kansas. It was a really unhappy affair.

The theft of the Wichita Robinson statue provoked sturdy emotions right here and nationally based mostly on the timing and political local weather, and personally, as a Dodgers fan.

As baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson each April 15, it’s a level of pleasure that Robinson was before everything a Dodger, transcending the sport to be who he was.

Whether or not the theft and vandalism have been the results of a hate crime or simply fundamental stupidity, folks got here collectively to lift almost $200,000 to switch the statue. before MLB intervened.

Passions flared after which cooled as ordinary.

The theft was caught on safety tape, so it was solely a matter of time earlier than an arrest or two. On Monday, February 13, the primary domino fell.

Ricky Alderete, 45, was arrested and booked on a number of costs associated to the theft of the Robinson statue, together with allegations of felony theft, aggravated prison harm to property, and probably unrelated costs of id theft and make false data.

Wichita police stated they found no proof to recommend the theft of the 275-pound Robinson statue and the corresponding vandalism have been racially motivated. As a substitute, police stated the first motivation for robbing the Robinson statue was based mostly on the worth of the steel it was made from, largely 95 p.c copper.

Witchita police have vowed to arrest the opposite people documented within the theft of the statue, because the police division believes no less than three folks have been concerned within the theft.

The suspect truck used within the theft was discovered on January 28 and doesn’t belong to Alderete. It must be famous that Aldrete was not charged with the destruction of the statue, however somewhat with its theft, which results in the inference that these accountable for the destruction of the statue are nonetheless at massive.

Bob Lutz, govt director of the League 42 Basis acknowledged that “we really feel good that somebody has been held accountable, and I consider that every one people concerned might be arrested.”

Lutz additionally disagrees with the Witchia Police evaluation that the theft and vandalism was not racially motivated:

“He's an iconic African-American baseball participant [statue]which was destroyed,” Lutz stated after the press convention. “It's a racial crime so far as I'm involved.”

The substitute statue might be completed, based mostly on the unique mildew, by the center of subsequent summer season.

Lutz stated League 42 will work with the town on safety measures for the substitute standing.

“We didn't fence it off. The great thing about the Jackie Robinson statue is for folks to be part of it, and strategy it and find it irresistible the identical method we do,” Lutz stated. “Our children are fascinated by Jackie Robinson. We've created a brand new era of curiosity in a participant who hasn't performed main league baseball in 70 years.

Whatever the motivation, the baseball fan neighborhood in Wichita and throughout the nation got here collectively to indicate that the vandalism of the Robinson statue is not going to be tolerated or go unanswered. As I stated final time, the spirit of Jackie Robinson lives in all those that don’t quit and don’t retire.

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