GRAND RAPIDS – A pair of the famous ruby slippers worn by actress Judy Garland in the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz” has been found after being stolen in 2005.
The famous shoes were on loan from a private collector to the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids when they were stolen. Law enforcement authorities held a press conference in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 4, announcing the recovery of the shoes, which had been insured for $1 million at the time of the theft. The FBI reported that it has several suspects in the case but they are seeking the public’s help in identifying all who were involved.
Jill Sanborn, special agent in charge of the Minneapolis Division of the FBI, and Christopher Myers, United States Attorney for the District of North Dakota, announced that the shoes were seized in a sting operation conducted in Minneapolis earlier this summer.
Grand Rapids Police Chief Scott Johnson noted that the recovery of the ruby slippers was part of a 13-year investigation that never ended.
“The Grand Rapids Police Department followed up on every lead we received,” he said. Johnson told reporters at Tuesday’s press conference that a break in the case came several months ago when a more “credible” tip surfaced. That tip led to an out of state connection, which triggered FBI involvement.
Authorities described the case as an active investigation.
“While the FBI has identified suspects and has executed multiple search warrants in Minnesota and Florida in connection with the investigation, investigators are seeking the public’s help to identify all parties associated with the initial theft and the more recent scheme to defraud and extort the Markel Corporation, the owner of the slippers,” reported the FBI in a news release.
Anyone with information surrounding the theft or the extortion plot is encouraged to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALLFBI (225-5324) or submit information via the FBI’s website at tips.fbi.gov. Tips can be anonymous.
There are four knownremaining pairs of ruby slippers in existence— those recently recovered by police, a pair housed in the Smithsonian Museum, a pair located in the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Museum and a pair owned by a private collector.