Man Indicted For 2005 Theft Of ‘Wizard Of Oz’ Ruby Slippers
There’s no place like prison?
A federal grand jury today indicted a man in the 2005 theft of a pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz. Terry Martin is charged with one count of stealing a major artwork — specifically facing a charge of theft of an object of cultural heritage from the care, custody or control of a museum.
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The indictment, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota in Minneapolis, did not give Martin’s age or hometown, nor did it suggest a potential maximum prison term. It alleges that he stole the revered footwear from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, MN. At the time, the slippers were insured for $1 million, but a current fair-market appraisal value the slippers at $3.5 million, the Justice Department said.
The ruby slippers in question, which were recovered in July 2018 in a sting operation by the FBI and Grand Rapids Police Department after a 13-year search, are one of the four remaining pairs and are among the most recognizable memorabilia in American film history. Garland wore them as she portrayed Dorothy in the classic 1939 movie, a Best Picture Oscar nominee that also starred Bert Lahr, Frank Morgan and Ray Bolger.
At least two of the existing pairs are owned by private collectors. One pair has been on display in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington since 1979. In 2012, Leonardo DiCaprio led a group of donors in purchasing a pair to be displayed at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, set to open this year in Los Angeles.
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Because the case is ongoing, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of North Dakota said it will have no further comment for now.
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