Stolen ‘Wizard of Oz’ slippers found after 13 years

Stolen Wizard of Oz ruby slippers recovered after 13-year search

Judy Garland's ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz found 13 years after they were stolen from museum

The slippers were stolen in 2005 from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids by a thief who broke into a small display case.

After the recovery in July, the Federal Bureau of Investigation transported the slippers to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., where conservators were able to conduct an in-depth examination and analysis, including evidence of wear and details unique to their use in the 1939 film. An alarm had been tripped but no signal was sent to police dispatch, museum co-founder John Kelsch said in the documentary.

"There are certainly people out there who have additional knowledge regarding both the theft and the individuals responsible for concealing the slippers all these years", he added.

Ten years later, the museum worked with the Itasca County Sheriff's Dive Team to address the theory that someone had thrown the slippers in a nearby lake. There are four pairs in existence.

"And if you are a film collector who loves classic Hollywood, what better piece of iconic Hollywood memorabilia would you want other than the ruby slippers?"

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FBI Dawn Wallace, a conservator for the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History, analyzes one of the recovered slippers at the Smithsonian's Conservation Lab in Washington, D.C.

Details regarding the stolen pair's return were not disclosed, though officials with the Minneapolis FBI, the North Dakota U.S. Attorney's Office, and the Grand Rapids Police Department have scheduled a Tuesday afternoon press conference to release more information, according to ABC News. Shaw rejected the museum's offer to store them in a vault each night because he didn't want people handling the delicate shoes by moving them daily, he said in the documentary. So Shaw delivered the slippers himself and placed them in the Plexiglass case. Toward the end of the movie, Glinda the Good Witch revealed to Dorothy that her magic slippers could take her back home.

The stolen ruby slippers were featured in July on the Discovery Channel show "Expedition Unknown", in which host Josh Gates visited the museum during the winter and conducted his own underwater search for the slippers with quips about northern Minnesota's weather.

"They're an enduring symbol of the power of belief", Johnson said. A fan offered a $1 million reward for a short period before the 10-year anniversary of the robbery, but no-one came forward. "These types of offenses not only deprive the owner of the property, but all of us", Myers said.

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