Are there a more iconic pair of shoes in the world than the ruby slippers Judy Garland wore in The Wizard of Oz?
Well after 13 years on the lam, the dazzling kicks are back in their rightful place. Yesterday, they were returned to the Judy Garland Museum in the late star’s hometown of Grand Rapids, northern Minnesota. They have been missing since being stolen from the museum in August 2005.
The missing pair were one of four that Garland wore in her signature role as Dorothy in the 1939 film.
“We reached the first goal, the recovery, and it’s a great day,” North Dakota United States Attorney Christopher Myers said.
“But we’re not done.”
Specifically, while the stolen goods have been returned, the FBI say their investigation is ongoing.
The FBI became involved in the investigation following a lead from 2017. It was an undercover operation from earlier this year that saw the shoes returned.
It's true! The RUBY SLIPPERS have been found! There will be a live press conference on Channel Eleven – a station from outside Minneapolis and likely other stations today at 1:00 pm. Central Time.
We can barely believe this news!!!! Stay tuned.
— Judy Garland Museum (@GarlandMuseum) September 4, 2018
The slippers themselves were loaned to the museum in 2005 by memorabilia collector Michael Shaw.
Shaw declined an offer to have them stored in a vault nightly. He didn’t want the delicate footwear being handled by people twice to put them in and remove them from the vault each day.
“But most importantly, I was assured that the museum had security,” Shaw said in the 2016 documentary The Slippers, which tracked the history of the iconic shoes.
The so-called security was bested by the simplest of plans: breaking into the museum after hours, cracking open the display case the shoes were in, and making off with the precious memorabilia.
“There’s a certain romance in these types of schemes, sometimes sophistication, but at the end of the day it’s a theft,” Myers said.
“These types of offences not only deprive the owner of their property but all of us.”
“This type of cultural property is important to us as a society. It reflects culture, it holds our memories, it reflects our values.”