There’s no place like home for Judy Garland’s ruby slippers.
Minnesota man Terry Martin has been charged in connection to the 2005 theft of the iconic shoes worn by the actress in the 1939 movie musical, “The Wizard of Oz.”
According to a press release, the shoes were first taken from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, and recovered 13 years later in 2018 by the FBI. No arrests were made at the time.
After the shoes were found, prosecutors said someone had taken the shoes after climbing through a window and breaking the display case, AP News reported.
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The shoes are “widely viewed as among the most recognizable memorabilia in American film history” according to the release.
At the time of the theft, the shoes were insured for $1 million but are now estimated to be worth $3.5 million – a 250% increase in market value.
Martin has been charged with one count of theft of major artwork.
Following the indictment, Martin, 76, spoke to The Minneapolis Star Tribune: “I gotta go on trial. I don’t want to talk to you.” The outlet noted that Martin lives 12 miles from the scene of the crime.
According to The New York Times, there were no leads in the case until 2018 when someone approached the insurance company that owned the shoes claiming to have information on its whereabouts. The FBI found the circumstances to be an extortion scam, prompting a sting operation to recover the shoes.
The museum’s executive director Janie Heitz said she hopes to see the shoes return to the museum soon.
“It’s just such an iconic item that means so much to so many people,” Ms. Heitz, per NYT. “It would be a shame for them to stay in a locked case for the rest of time.”