Stolen ruby slippers from 'The Wizard of Oz' recovered in Federal Bureau of Investigation sting

Joann Johnston
September 5, 2018

Thomas said the slippers then went unseen for 30 years until Shaw, acting as a middleman, bought them for someone who meant to sell them to the late actress Debbie Reynolds, but Shaw ended up keeping them and often loaned them for exhibits.

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.

We'll continue to update this story as the day unfolds.

"These types of offenses not only deprive the owner of their property but all of us", Myers said.

The shoes were key to the Wizard of Oz storyline, and held the power to return Dorothy to Kansas from Oz once she tapped the heels together three times while repeating the line, "There's no place like home".

Anyone with information surrounding the theft or the extortion plot is encouraged to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) or submit information via the FBI's website at Tips can be anonymous.

"At the heart of almost every art crime, we see greed woven into the fabric of the scheme-greed to take it, and greed to profit from its return", Sanborn said.

The FBI estimates the value of the slippers in the millions of dollars if they were sold at auction.

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The spokesman added that there were a "number of things" that were not negotiable, including "taking back control of our laws, our borders and our money".

Thomas estimated that this particular pair could be worth between $US2 million ($2.785 million) to $US7 million ($9.748 million).

The slippers were stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

"One way or another, over the course of time, the shoes will out you", said Thomas, who tracked down several pairs of the famed shoes for a Los Angeles Times article published in 1988. "It's our hope that the slippers can be recovered immediately", Kelsch said in 2005.

The Wizard Of Oz - presented in black and white and colour - was a box office smash and won multiple Academy Awards, including Oscars for best picture and best cinematography.

The ruby slippers are an iconic piece of cinema, as recognizable as Toto or the Wicked Witch of the West. The burglar then smashed a Plexiglass case where the slippers were and got away with them. "This is part of the magic of Oz, it just doesn't quit and it embraces everybody".

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.

Thirteen years after thieves absconded with the most famous shoes in cinematic history, police have found Dorothy's ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz.

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