Arrest Made In Jackie Robinson Theft

The suspect Ricky Alderete was apprehended by law enforcement and charged with four counts in connection with the theft.


A suspect has been arrested in connection with the theft of a bronze Jackie Robinson statue that was discarded in a city park in Wichita, according to the Associated Press.

Ricky Alderete, 45, was apprehended by law enforcement in early February in a kidnapping case and was charged with four counts stemming from the theft along with a from  2022 case, police records show. 

With several run-ins with the law, Alderete's criminal record includes burglary and theft, per state correction department records.

Moses said that there were at least three people seen on the surveillance video and he also noted that the statue was taken to a location where others were present. 

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

He did not disclose how law enforcement determined Alderete was a suspect in the crime and said more information about the investigation would be revealed at a later date.

Wichita police Chief Joe Sullivan said it was “only the first arrest” and more would follow.

“When you try to take something from this community, it won’t tolerate it,” Sullivan said.

In January, the bronze statue of the first Black player to play in the MLB was reported stolen. According to the report, the statue was cut off at the ankles and was left smoldering in a trash can.

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Only the feet of the statues were left at McAdams Park, where League 42, named after Robinson’s retired number, hosts about 600 children in a youth baseball league.

"I'm frustrated by the actions of those individuals who had the audacity to take the statue of Jackie Robinson from a park where kids and families and our community gather to learn the history of Jackie Robinson," Sullivan said at a news conference at the time. "What troubles me even more is that the theft occurred just before the beginning of February, which marks the start of Black History Month.”

Erected in 2021, the life-size statue was housed at Jackie Robinson Pavilion in Wichita and is one of just four statues of Robinson in the country. Noted sculptor John Parsons made the statue before his death.

Bob Lutz, executive director of the Little League, the nonprofit that commissioned the sculpture, said that the donations amounting to almost $300,000 have been received since the theft.

“The power of Jackie Robinson is extremely strong in 2024 and that’s a testament to what he stood for,” Lutz said.

The mold of the statue is still viable and the replacement can be erected in a few months. While the cost to replace the statue was $50,000 the extra funds may be used to “enhance some of its programming and facilities.”

“It’s going to be put to good use,” Lutz said. 

Alderete is currently being held on $150,000 bond and is facing charges of felony theft and aggravated criminal damage to property in the statue case. Additionally, he was charged with identity theft and making false information in an October 2022 incident involving a pawn ticket, the complaint read.

Before joining the Brooklyn Dodgers, Robinson played for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues.

During his MLB career, Robinson won the inaugural Rookie of the Year Award in 1947, made six consecutive All-Star teams, won the National League (NL) Most Valuable Player Award, and was a World Series champion with the Dodgers in 1955.

In 1997, Major League Baseball retired his uniform No. 42 across all major league teams, making him the only athlete to receive the honor from a professional league. 

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