Published: Wed, September 05, 2018
Life&Culture | By Mildred Hamilton

Federal Bureau of Investigation recovers stolen 'Wizard of Oz' slippers

Federal Bureau of Investigation recovers stolen 'Wizard of Oz' slippers

It was a classic smash-and-grab in August 2005: Some unknown thief or thieves broke in through the back door of the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minn., and swiped the slippers, reportedly leaving nothing but broken glass and a single red sequin in their wake.

Since the slippers were recovered in July, they have been transported to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. There, conservators conducted an in-depth examination and analysis, identifying wear and details unique to their 1939 film appearance.

The FBI will have more to say about the recovery of the ruby slippers at a news conference in Minneapolis at 1 p.m.

There are four pairs of ruby slippers used during filming known to survive today.

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In 2012, Leonardo DiCaprio helped purchase another pair for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. When the shoes were in the possession of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, they were transported to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. for analysis and comparison. Now those iconic slippers have found their way home after going missing 13 years ago, nearly to the day.

Michael Shaw, who purchased the shoes for $2,000 in 1970, according to the New York Times, was overjoyed to learn they had been found after more than a decade.

The insurance company sued Shaw, the museum and its director to avoid making that payout; Newsweek reports the parties settled in 2007, with Shaw receiving $800,000. An alarm had been triggered, but a signal was reportedly not sent to police. Investigators estimated that the heist took only seconds.

The ruby slippers are an iconic piece of cinema, as recognizable as Toto or the Wicked Witch of the West.

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"Several months ago our police department received some information that appeared to have more credibility", Johnson said.

"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.

Authorities said they wanted to ensure they had accounted for everyone involved in the theft and the subsequent concealment of the slippers through the years.

That year, a wealthy fan of the movie volunteered to give $1 million to the person who could help find the missing slippers.

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"We believed that information would eventually surface and knew we were in this for the long haul", Stein said. Second, the pair in the Smithsonian's collection is actually a mismatched pair of ruby slippers, with the left sized "5C" and the right sized "5BC". Did you love the movie The Wizard of Oz when you were younger?

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