Thirteen years after the pair of sparkly shoes was stolen from a Minnesota museum, the FBI announced on Tuesday it had recovered the costume pieces during a summer sting operation.
For years people have theorized over what might have happened to the pair of ruby shoes, with some saying that Shaw himself might have stolen the shoes in order to collect the insurance money (this theory was investigated and found to be untrue), or that they might be in a weighted plastic container at the bottom of the deep Tioga Mine Pit Lake.
“At the heart of nearly every art crime, we see greed woven into the fabric of the scheme — greed to take it, and greed to profit from its return,” Jill Sanborn, special agent in charge of the Minneapolis Division of the FBI, said in a statement. “Dorothy’s slippers are a treasured piece of Americana, and we are hoping members of the public can help us better fill in the details that will finish the script of this mystery so we can hold accountable all those who were behind the scheme.”
The shoes were insured for $1 million and an anonymous donor offered another $1 million for their safe return, but the offer expired after 10 years.
After the shoes were stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids in 2005, they disappeared completely until an individual offered the museum more information about the heist last year. In the FBI’s statement on Tuesday, it said the theft was an attempt to extort the Markel Corporation, the owner of the slippers.
Multiple suspects have been identified, including those involved with the initial theft and the more recent extortion attempt.
Feds: Stolen ruby slippers worn in Wizard of Oz recovered
The pair is one of four in existence. At least two others are owned by private collectors, including a joint ownership by Leonardo DiCaprio and Steven Spielberg for display at the Academy Museum of Motion Picture. Another is housed at the Smithsonian.
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FBI Says It Has Recovered Stolen Ruby Slippers, Missing For 13 Years
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Dorothys ruby slippers have been found 13 years after they were stolen
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BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. — A pair of ruby slippers used in “The Wizard of Oz” and later stolen from a Minnesota museum were recovered in a sting operation after a man approached the shoes insurer and said he could help get them back, the FBI said Tuesday.
The slippers were on loan to the Judy Garland Museum in the late actress hometown of Grand Rapids when they were taken in 2005 by someone who climbed through a window and broke into a small display case. The shoes were insured for $1 million.
The FBI said a man approached the insurer in summer 2017 and said he could help get them back. Grand Rapids police asked for the FBIs help and after a nearly year-long investigation, the slippers were recovered in July during a sting operation in Minneapolis.