A pair of iconic ruby slippers worn in the 1939 classic The Wizard Of Oz stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota have been recovered by the FBI. The slippers were stolen from the museum in August 2005.
The slippers were recovered by the Minneapolis division of the FBI working in cooperation with the city’s police department and the US Attorney’s office. At a press conference today, the FBI noted how they followed numerous false leads over the years before a man contacted the company that had insured the ruby slippers last summer claiming to have information on how they could be returned. After a nearly year-long investigation, the FBI was able to recover the slippers in July through a sting operation. The investigation into the extortion side of the case is ongoing with the FBI stating that they have multiple suspects.
This iconic shoe design has had its days on the fashion industry and helped inspire other designs. Many handmade shoemakers actually became known due to it. You can see the designs that sprung up on ShoeAdviser.
At the time of their theft, the ruby slippers were on loan to the museum from collector Michael Shaw. A thief entered after hours, smashed the glass case that contained them and then fled. There were no fingerprints or footprints left at the scene and the one security camera positioned to watch the slippers was not operating that evening.
Created by Hollywood fashion designed Gilbert Adrian, the slippers were just one of several made for use in the MGM musical and were the pair worn by Garland for the close up of the actress tapping her heels together while intoning the immortal line “There’s no place like home.”
The stolen slippers were just one of two pair that currently belong in private collections. One pair is on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American Heritage. A fourth pair will be on display at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles when that facility opens later this year. That pair was purchased at auction in 2012 by a group of donors led by Leonardo DiCaprio.
Although the slippers were insured for just $1 million at the time of their theft, current estimates place their value between $2 and $3 million.
The theft and the at-the-time unsuccessful investigation to recover them were the subject of the 2015 documentary Who Stole The Ruby Slippers?.