FBI charges man with stealing The Wizard of Oz ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland
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The FBI has charged a man with the theft of the iconic red slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz.
After 13 years, the slippers were tracked down in a sting operation but no arrests were made at the time.
Now, five years later, a man named Terry Martin has been charged.
The shoes - considered one of Hollywood's most valuable collectibles, Forbes reports - are one of four pairs worn by Garland in the movie. The pair are noted as being the best quality of them all, featuring handwritten inscriptions of Garland's names in the lining and reported as being worth around $3.5 million (£2.8 million) - insured for $1 million (£800,000) - according to federal prosecutors.
At the time they were stolen, the ruby slippers were on loan to the museum from acting coach and memorabilia collector Michael Shaw, who used the shoes to raise money for charity as well as to spread their power to inspire 'magic and dreams'.
After the break-in on 27 August, 2005, police were left stumped. Chief investigator at the Grand Rapids Police Department, Gene Bennett, said, as per Forbes: "The whole crime probably only took a minute or two."
No fingerprints were found at the scene, no alarm went off when the thief broke in and despite multiple cash rewards being offered - law enforcement offering $250,000 (£200,000) and an anonymous donor $1 million - the shoes remained missing and far from home for 13 years.
Thankfully, in 2018, the ruby slippers must've clicked themselves together enough times, because they were discovered.
On Tuesday (16 May), 76-year-old Martin - who lives around 12 miles from the museum - was indicted by a grand jury and faces one count of theft of a major artwork.
No further information surrounding Martin's alleged connection to the ruby slippers has been publicly released.
Executive director of the Judy Garland Museum, Janie Heitz, told the Associated Press she and the rest of the museum's staff are 'a little bit speechless' someone has been charged with the theft so long after the break-in took place.
Martin is expected to appear in court on 1 June via video call.
The ruby slippers remain in the custody of the FBI, however, once the legal case is resolved, it's hoped the ruby slippers will return to the museum - after all, there's 'no place like home'.