Man indicted on charges of stealing ‘Wizard of Oz’ ruby slippers after 18 years

Man indicted on charges of stealing ‘Wizard of Oz’ ruby slippers after 18 years

There’s no place like court…

Nearly two decades after a pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz were purloined from a museum, a Minnesota man has been indicted on charges of stealing the iconic footwear.

Terry Martin was indicted by a grand jury Tuesday with one count of theft of a major artwork, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday. The indictment alleges that Martin stole the sequined red pumps from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, the late actress’ hometown, back in 2005. At the time of the theft, the slippers were insured for $1 million, but prosecutors said the current market value is about $3.5 million.

It took more than three heel clicks to bring the slippers back home after someone climbed through a window, broke the display case, and took the pair, leaving a single red sequin behind. The shoes weren’t recovered until an FBI sting operation in 2018, and no arrests were made at the time.

‘The Wizard of Oz’

‘The Wizard of Oz’

| Credit: Everett Collection

It was not immediately clear if Martin had a lawyer. The Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported that Martin is 76 and lives 12 miles south of the museum. Reached by phone, Martin told the newspaper, “I gotta go on trial. I don’t want to talk to you.”

Janie Heitz, the executive director of the Judy Garland Museum, told the Associated Press that she and the museum’s staff were “a little bit speechless” that someone had been charged after so many years.

Garland, who famously played Dorothy Gale in the classic 1939 film, wore several pairs of ruby slippers during production, four of which have survived. That includes a mismatched pair at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

“The ruby slippers are among the most requested objects when visitors come to the museum,” Ryan Lintelman, curator for entertainment at the museum, told EW in 2019. He added that the slippers have become “one of the great national icons of America.”

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