Man Charged with Stealing a Pair of Judy Garland's Original Red Slippers from 'The Wizard of Oz'

The pair of ruby slippers were originally stolen from the Judy Garland museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, in 2005, before they were recovered by the FBI in 2018


The man who allegedly stole a pair of Judy Garland's original Wizard of Oz ruby slippers has been charged.

Terry Martin was indicted by the U.S. District Court in Minnesota on Tuesday and charged with theft of major artwork, according to a press release obtained by PEOPLE.

Martin is accused of stealing a pair of ruby slippers from the Judy Garland Museum in the actress' hometown of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, in 2005. There are just four remaining pairs of the iconic Wizard of Oz shoes, which the release described as being "among the most recognizable memorabilia in American film."

In 2018, the stolen pair of slippers were recovered by the FBI and the local police department. They currently remain in FBI custody.

The release estimated that the current market value of the pair of slippers is $3.5 million. At the time of the robbery, they were insured for $1 million.

Jeff Baenen/AP Photo
Jeff Baenen/AP Photo

Related:The Wizard of Oz's Ruby Slippers Became Iconic 80 Years Ago — And for Years, One Pair Was Lost

The ruby slippers were stolen in 2005 from the back of the museum, where they were being kept, CBS reported. They were on loan to the museum at the time by Michael Shaw, a private collector.

In a 2016 documentary The Slippers, CNN reported that Shaw had asked the museum not to put the slippers in a vault overnight to limit the amount they were handled. "But most importantly, I was assured that the museum had security," Shaw said.

"The biggest thing that ever happened to our museum was getting the slippers stolen," Jon Miner, a museum co-founder, told KQDS, a CNN affiliate, in 2015. "We were literally crying."

Over 10 years after the heist, the slippers were eventually located during an FBI sting operation in Minneapolis, according to a press release. The authenticity of the pair was validated by conservators who compared them to one of the other three pairs, which resides in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

Courtesy Everett Collection
Courtesy Everett Collection

Related:Long-Lost Wizard of Oz Dress Worn by Judy Garland Blocked from Auction amid Dispute Over Ownership

After handling the case alone since 2005, the Grand Rapids Police Department requested FBI assistance in 2017, when they discovered a burgeoning scheme to defraud and extort the Markel Corporation — the organization that owns the slippers.

"When the slippers were snatched in the early morning burglary, the thieves not only took the slippers, they took a piece of history that will be forever connected to Grand Rapids and one of our city's most famous children," Grand Rapids Police Chief Scott Johnson said in the release. "We were confident this day would eventually come, and we are grateful to the FBI and all those who worked to bring this piece of cinematic treasure out of the shadows and into the light."

He added, in a nod to the iconic film: "After all, 'There's no place like home.' "

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Dorothy's red slippers are not the only artifact from the classic film to have gone missing in recent years.

One of the blue gingham dresses Garland wore in the film was missing for over four decades before being discovered at Catholic University in Washington D.C. in 2021.

Matt Ripa, a lecturer and operations coordinator for the drama department at the school, accidentally discovered the long-lost artifact — which was originally gifted to the school in the 1970s — while cleaning his office. The outfit later went missing just a year after that.

"I noticed on top of the faculty mailboxes a trash bag and asked my co-worker to hand it to me," Ripa wrote in a story published by the university. "On the trash bag was a note for our former chair stating that he had found 'this' in his office and that he must have moved it when he moved out of the chair's office. … I was curious what was inside and opened the trash bag and inside was a shoebox and inside the shoe box was the dress! I couldn't believe it."

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