A man has been charged with major artwork theft nearly two decades after an original pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in “The Wizard of Oz” was stolen.
The shoes were swiped from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota in August 2005. Restored in 2018. No arrests were made at the time, although the FBI said they had multiple suspects.
Terry Martin was charged Tuesday. Officials did not say what led investigators to ultimately file charges.
One of the ruby slippers that Martin allegedly took The remaining four pairs In existence, the US Attorney’s Office for the District of North Dakota. One of the other pairs is at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, and the other was acquired by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in 2012.
The pair of stolen slippers are currently in FBI custody, according to the Judy Garland Museum. They are owned by an insurance company.
“Nothing can be done with them until there is a court case,” the museum wrote on Facebook.
The ruby slippers were insured for $1 million at the time of the theft, federal prosecutors said. The latest fair market valuation is $3.5 million for one of the most iconic pieces of film history. According to the Smithsonian, the slippers are white pumps. They get their ruby color from the red fabric, dark red sequins, and red dyed soles to match.
The shoes were worn by Garland’s character Dorothy Gale in the 1939 film. Dorothy clicks her heels together as she puts them on and says “there’s no place like home” to leave Oz and go back to Kansas.
While Dorothy is from Kansas, Garland himself was born in Grand Rapids, the city from which the shoes were stolen. At the time of the theft, the slippers were on loan to the museum as part of a special tour.
CBS News, the slippers disappeared after thieves broke through a window in the museum’s back door As previously reported. No alarms were heard and no fingerprints were left.
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