May 21, 2024

Kansas man pleads guilty to theft of Jackie Robinson statue

Ricky Alderete, 45, arrested after a Jackie Robinson statue went lacking from a Wichita, Kansas, youth baseball league in January, pleaded guilty Thursday to theft and different fees.

Alderete might face greater than 19 years behind bars when he is sentenced on July 1, the district legal professional’s workplace informed ESPN.

In addition to theft, he might be sentenced for aggravated housebreaking, aggravated felony harm to property, interference with regulation enforcement, felony harm to property, making a false writing and identification theft. The crimes are associated to the theft, in addition to his identification and arrest, the district legal professional’s workplace stated.

The prosecutor’s workplace additionally stated that Alderete might be compelled to pay $41,500 to League 42, the youth baseball outfit named after the Brooklyn Dodgers legend.

“We’re glad that this particular chapter has been put to rest,” Bob Lutz, the manager director of League 42, informed ESPN on Friday. “I’m glad that someone has been held accountable for this statue theft.”

“I hope that Mr. Alderete has learned from this experience. I hope that he has learned that what he and his accomplices did was harmful to a lot of people, including kids, and hopefully he’ll do better.”

Police stated they do not consider the crime to be racially motivated, based mostly on what they know at the moment.

There have been no extra arrests linked to the case, however, utilizing surveillance video, police stated there have been a minimum of two different people current when the statue was minimize, leaving the bronze replicas of Robinson’s cleats behind, and stolen from Wichita’s McAdams Park, the place League 42 performs its video games. Parts of the statue have been later discovered, charred from a fireplace, in one other park 7 miles away.

A police affidavit obtained by ESPN stated that, days after the arrest, Alderete ran from police and entered a man’s house. The different man ultimately escaped and acquired in contact with police, main to Alderete’s arrest.

A GoFundMe web page arrange by the league raised almost $200,000 earlier than the fundraising hyperlink was closed Feb. 5, lower than two weeks from when the statue went lacking. Lutz estimated that League 42 obtained between $500,000 and $600,000 in complete.

MLB has pledged to pay for the statue to be rebuilt, as a coordinated effort amongst golf equipment. Lutz stated League 42 has obtained a $100,000 verify from MLB for the brand new statue, in addition to safety and lighting round it.

League 42 had its opening day, with out the statue in place, on Jackie Robinson Day in April. The new statue is predicted to be unveiled in August.

Police consider the theft was “motivated by the financial gain of scrapping common metal.”

“I’m sorry for him,” David Robinson, Jackie Robinson’s son, stated of Alderete to ESPN. “I’m sorry for the troubles of his life. His solution to steal a sculpture of a man of the stature of Jackie Robinson, it’s a further unfortunate choice and circumstance of his own making.

“But my fundamental feeling is that I’m sorry for the man and his place in life. I perceive he has pleaded guilty. I want he takes society’s punishment in one of the best ways doable and from there can go on to enhance his life.”

ESPN’s William Weinbaum contributed to this report.