The FBI announced yesterday that they have found the Ruby Slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz that was stolen from The Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, back in 2005!
The photo above (courtesy of the Smithsonian) shows an FBI badge and the ONE sequin left behind on the floor of the Judy Garland Museum after the theft. That sequin helped to identify the recovered pair as the actual pair stolen in 2005.
The FBI took the shoes to the Smithsonian last July to have them verify that they were indeed the stolen pair. The FBI has not released information about who the culprit(s) of the theft was. All we know right now is that the slippers were recovered during a sting operation that was set up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to bust an extortion attempt that, according to “Time” magazine happened “after a man approached the shoes’ insurer and said he could help get them back, the FBI said Tuesday.” No arrests have been made.
The Smithsonian’s shoes are a mismatched pair (that’s well known). Same with the stolen shoes. See the diagram above (also from the Smithsonian). The left shoe of the stolen pair matches the right shoe of the Smithsonian pair. The right shoe of the stolen pair matches the left shoe of the Smithsonian pair.
Now the question is, what will happen to them? The insurance company paid out the claim money to Michael Shaw (the stolen pair’s owner). They will want that money back but it’s safe to assume he probably spent it. So they will hold onto the pair. They apparently have offered him the chance buy the pair back. It’s unknown if he will. Shaw has recently been quoted as exclaiming “It turns out they’re not only intact they are as pristine, I was told, as when I put them on display? So yay!” Shaw said.
It would be great if the Smithsonian was able to keep one matching pair, but since they’ve been extensively restoring their pair, that means that there would be one un-restored shoe in each pair. They would look un-restored next to their restored mate. Maybe the Smithsonian can create another Kickstarter campaign or perhaps they’re already restoring them? Regardless, having the correct shoes with their correct mates is ideal.
I guess we’ll have to wait and see!
Check out The Judy Room’s Extensive Spotlight Section on The Wizard of Oz here.
Check out the video below of the live reveal by the FBI. Some of it’s rather dry as it’s from a live feed of the event yesterday. Also included is the news about the recovery as aired on NBC’s Nightly News.