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Jackie Robinson statue stolen from a Kansas park after sculpture cut off at ankles

A prized statue of Jackie Robinson was stolen from a public park in Kansas, spurring a police search Friday and outrage across the city of Wichita.

The statue honors the first player to break Major League Baseball’s color barrier in 1947. Surveillance video was released of two people hauling the sculpture away in the dark. Wichita police said in a Facebook post that it went missing Thursday morning.

The statue was cut at the ankles to be removed. All that remained of the statue Friday were Robinson’s feet.

“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 in our community gather to learn the history of Jackie Robinson, an American icon, and play the game of baseball,” Wichita police Chief Joe Sullivan said during a news conference Friday. “This should upset all of us.”

He said even more troubling was the statue’s theft shortly before Black History Month.

Robinson played for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues before joining the Brooklyn Dodgers, paving the way for generations of Black American ballplayers. He’s considered not only a sports legend but also a civil rights icon.

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