Thirteen years after the iconic ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz were stolen from the Judy Garland Museum, with only a red sequin left behind, they've been recovered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
"They have a festival up at the museum every year, right around Judy's birthday, and they made a decision to send a team of divers underwater to search for the shoes". - Garland's hometown - by a private collector as part of a 10-week traveling tour. The alarm did not sound to a central dispatch station.
The shoes that were used in close-up shots of Dorothy clicking her heels were insured for a million dollars.
Grand Rapids police chief Scott Johnson said his officers never gave up on the effort to recover the treasures.
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"We kicked ourselves in the butt for not putting them in the safe", Jon Miner, one of the museum's board members, told The Washington Post's Jessica Contrera in 2015. The investigator assigned to the case was fearful that the thief might destroy the slippers if he believed the police were on his trail. In a sense, they stole history as well.
During the 40th Annual Wizard of Oz Festival, divers even checked Tioga Mine Pit Lake, but they came up empty-handed. Stein added that officers investigated tips over the years, but many led to reproductions of the slippers, not the real thing. The problem is that there are a great many reproductions out there and people believed that these were the stolen slippers. Now those iconic slippers have found their way home after going missing 13 years ago, nearly to the day. "As recently as two weeks ago, we received a telephone call from a psychic telling us that she was sure she knew where the slippers were". The museum's security system was also lacking, and didn't notify police that a theft had occurred, so there were few leads. The investigation remained a priority for the Grand Rapids police, who requested FBI assistance in 2017 when the extortion plot against the Markel Corporation surfaced. "This investigation took us outside the state of Minnesota".
"They're an enduring symbol of the power of belief", Johnson said. But, as CNN recounts, rumors have circulated among fans and collectors since then about the whereabouts of the highly desirable shoes, valued at between $2 million and $3 million.
The ruby slippers were swiped during a heist in which someone broke through a window and broke into the small display case.
In 2012, Leonardo DiCaprio helped purchase another pair for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.