Federal prosecutors say a man has been indicted by a grand jury on charges of stealing a pair of ruby red slippers worn by Judy Garland in “The Wizard of Oz.” The FBI recovered the slippers in a sting operation in 2018.
A grand jury indicted Terry Martin on Tuesday with one count of theft of a major artwork, federal prosecutors in North Dakota announced Wednesday. The indictment did not provide any further information about him.
The indictment alleges that in 2005, Martin stole an authentic pair of shoes that Garland’s character, Dorothy, wore in the 1939 MGM musical. Online records do not list an attorney for Martin.
They were taken from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, the late actress’ hometown, and are one of four remaining pairs of red slippers Garland wore during production, clicking her heels and repeating the classic phrase, “There’s no place like home.”
The slippers were on loan to the Judy Garland Museum when someone climbed through a window and broke the display case, prosecutors said when they were recovered.
Federal prosecutors said in a news release that when the slippers were stolen, they were insured from $1 million but the current market value is about $3.5 million.
Over the years, several enticing rewards were offered in hopes that the slippers would turn up, including an anonymous donor from Arizona who put up $1 million.
The shoes are made from about a dozen different materials, including wood pulp, silk thread, gelatin, plastic and glass. Most of the ruby color comes from sequins but the bows of the shoes contain red glass beads.
The FBI said that the slippers were recovered when a man told the shoes’ insurer in 2017 that he could help get them back. After a nearly year-long investigation, the slippers were nabbed in Minneapolis.
When they were stolen, the slippers were on loan from Hollywood memorabilia collector Michael Shaw. The three other pairs Garland wore in the movie were held by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Smithsonian and a private collector.
—Margaret Stafford, The Associated Press