More than a decade after being stolen, a pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in "The Wizard of Oz" have been recovered. For 13 years, police and private investigators have sought the shoes-and the $1 million reward that goes along with them-but with no breaks.
She was referring to the famous ruby slippers from the 1939 movie, The Wizard of Oz.
"They're more than just a pair of shoes, the slippers".
While speculation on who was responsible for stealing the ruby slippers has ranged from professional thieves to drunken teens, this was no small take: The ruby slippers were insured for $1 million.
The theft was a complete mystery: someone broke into the museum at 2 a.m., smashed the plexiglass case that housed the shoes, and fled without leaving fingerprints or other evidence behind.
Federal Bureau of Investigation detectives announced on Tuesday they had found the shoes and details of their discovery are due to be revealed. One is housed in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, where they were removed from display in 2016 and a crowdfunding campaign was launched to cover the huge cost - hundreds of thousands of dollars - to restore them.
"It's unbelievable", Judy Garland Museum representative Sue Plagemann told AFP. They were able to determine that the recovered pair was indeed genuine. "We thought they were lost forever".
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Grand Rapids Police Chief Scott Johnson said his department has received tips over the years ranging from extremely vague (they were thrown into a water-filled iron ore mine pit somewhere on the Iron Range) to weird (they're nailed to the wall at a roadside diner in Missouri). Another insisted they were thrown in an iron-ore pit.
Grand Rapids Police Sergeant Robert Stein said that his department stayed quiet about rumors regarding the slippers over the years, hoping the truth would emerge one day.
"They have a festival up at the museum every year, right around Judy's birthday, and they chose to send a team of divers underwater to search for the shoes".
Local police contacted the FBI and a yearlong investigation began. The shoes were recovered in Minneapolis after an undercover sting operation.
U.S. Attorney Chris Myers of North Dakota was assigned by the U.S. Department of Justice to assist in the investigation and handle any prosecutions. It's safe to say that whoever they end up with will surely click their heels in delight at the opportunity to own an iconic piece of Hollywood history. "We are asking that you come forward".
Only four pairs of the famous ruby slippers are known to be in existence, the News Tribune reported in 2015.