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Stolen ruby slippers from 'Wizard of Oz' are found, FBI says

Stolen ruby slippers from 'Wizard of Oz' are found, FBI says

The slippers were taken from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids in August 2005 by someone who climbed through a window and broke into the small display case.

Following the devastating robbery, the slippers were never located and no arrests were made, leading the Grand Rapids Police Department to request help from the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2017, who then located the missing piece of showbiz history in July this year.

The pair, insured for a million dollars, was recovered after a man approached the insurer in summer 2017 and said he could help get them back.

The slippers are one of four known surviving pairs worn by the actress during filming of the beloved 1939 classic. At least two others are owned by private collectors, including a joint ownership by Leonardo DiCaprio and Steven Spielberg for display at the Academy Museum of Motion Picture.

"We kicked ourselves in the butt for not putting them in the safe", Jon Miner, one of the museum's board members, told The Washington Post's Jessica Contrera in 2015.

The shoes are some of the most famous film memorabilia in the world, and had been kept at the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. A memorabilia collector named Michael Shaw had loaned the slippers to the museum, which is located in a house where Garland grew up - and he said he was among those questioned by authorities.

Thomas said the slippers then went unseen for 30 years until Shaw, acting as a middleman, bought them for someone who meant to sell them to the late actress Debbie Reynolds, but Shaw ended up keeping them and often loaned them for exhibits.

A $1 million reward was eventually offered, generating dozens of leads, but none of them led to the stolen items.

Neither the Garland museum's alarm system or video surveillance system were working at the time of the 2005 theft, which Newsweek reported led some people to suspect it was an inside job.

The FBI says they executed several search warrants in Minnesota and Florida and are seeking the public's help in identify everyone connected to the theft and a more recent scheme to defraud the slipper's owner, Markel Corporation. A glass case containing the ruby slippers was broken and the slippers were removed, according to police. After years of searching, the slippers have been recovered following a year-long investigation. Second, the pair in the Smithsonian's collection is actually a mismatched pair of ruby slippers, with the left sized "5C" and the right sized "5BC".

"But most importantly, I was assured that the museum had security", Shaw said in the film.



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