Man Pleads Guilty to Theft of Jackie Robinson Statue in Kansas Park

Bronze Statue Destroyed in Trash Can Fire

A Kansas man has admitted guilt in the theft of a bronze statue of baseball legend Jackie Robinson. The statue was vandalized and later found burned in a trash can.

Ricky Alderete Enters Plea

45-year-old Ricky Alderete pleaded guilty on Thursday to charges related to the theft of the statue. The plea was accepted by a judge on Friday.

Motivated by Scrap Metal, Not Hate Crime

Police initially arrested Alderete in February for unrelated charges. He was later charged with felony theft and vandalism in connection with the statue. Authorities believe the intent was to sell the bronze for scrap, not a racially motivated attack.

Statue Destroyed at Youth Baseball Park

The statue was stolen in January from McAdams Park in Wichita. McAdams Park is home to League 42, a youth baseball league named after Robinson’s number with the Brooklyn Dodgers, the team for which he broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier in 1947. The thieves sawed off the statue at the ankles, leaving only its feet behind.

Replacement Underway After Public Outpouring

Firefighters discovered the burned remains of the statue days later in a trash can fire at a separate park several miles away.

Alderete has a history of theft and burglary according to state records. He is scheduled for sentencing on July 1st. The outpouring of public support following the theft has resulted in nearly $300,000 in donations, and efforts to replace the statue are underway.