Mystery still surrounds recovered Dorothy's Ruby Red Slippers

The FBI said no one has yet been arrested or charged in the case,

Susie Jones
September 04, 2018 - 3:26 pm

Dorothy's Ruby Red Slippers have been found — more than a decade after they were stolen — and the story behind the theft is as intriguing as the plot for the Wizard of Oz.

The FBI announced Tuesday that the ruby slippers used in "The Wizard of Oz" and later stolen from a Minnesota museum were recovered in a sting operation.

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 slippers had been on loan to the Garland museum from Hollywood memorabilia collector Michael Shaw. Three other pairs that Garland wore in the movie are held by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the Smithsonian and a private collector.

While the slippers are back home in Minnesota, there are a lot of questions surrounding the case.

For example, who stole the slippers initially?  "Our police department followed up on each and every lead," said Grand Rapids Police Chief Scott Johnson. "Everything from they are stapled to a wall in a Missouri ball, to someone threw them in a gravel pit."

Johnson said several months ago, someone called with information that was more credible, "This investigation took us outside of Minnesota, so we reached out to the FBI."

At a press conference Tuesday, federal authorities would not say who the person was that tipped them off, nor would they say where in Minneapolis the sting operation took place. "This is still an ongoing investigation," said Jill Sanborn, Special Agent in Charge of the Minneapolis Division of the FBI. "So we will be fairly limited in what we can say."

The FBI said no one has yet been arrested or charged in the case, but they have "multiple suspects" and continue to investigate. As they unveiled the recovered slippers at the news conference, they asked anyone with information about the theft to contact them.  "We're not done. We have a lot of work to do," Christopher Myers, the U.S. attorney for North Dakota, said.

Myers said he would handle any prosecution. The North Dakota link to the case wasn't evident and authorities declined to explain it.

The ruby slippers are key in the 1939 movie. After mysteriously landing in the colorful Land of Oz after a tornado hit her farm in Kansas, Garland's character, Dorothy, has to click the heels of her slippers three times and repeat "there's no place like home" to return.