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No place like court - man charged over Wizard of Oz theft

A pair of ruby slippers from 'The Wizard of Oz' remain in FBI custody
A pair of ruby slippers from 'The Wizard of Oz' remain in FBI custody Copyright Copyright 2018 The AP
Copyright Copyright 2018 The AP
By Saskia O'Donoghue
Published on
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A Minnesota man has been charged after an FBI investigation into the stealing of a pair of red shoes from the Judy Garland classic

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They’re finally on their way home - a man has been charged with stealing a pair of the famous red shoes worn by Judy Garland in the 1939 film classic ‘The Wizard of Oz’.

The stolen shoes, one of four pairs in existence, were first recovered by the FBI in 2018, after their initial theft from a museum in 2005, but this is the first time charges have been brought.

They were taken from the Judy Garland Museum in the late actress’ hometown of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, by a thief who managed to leave no fingerprints or set off any alarms.

The FBI’s art crime team launched a sting operation and have now implicated Terry Martin, a 76 year old from the state of Minnesota, with theft of a major artwork.

Hulton Archive/2005 Getty Images
A movie poster for the 1939 classicHulton Archive/2005 Getty Images

The shoes, worn by Garland’s character Dorothy, are integral to the story of ‘The Wizard of Oz’. Clicking their heels, she says the iconic line “there’s no place like home” and is transported back to Kansas after a wild visit to the fictional land of Oz.

The FBI haven’t released any information as to what circumstances led to Terry Martin’s arrest, but he told the Minneapolis Star Tribune, "I gotta go on trial. I don't want to talk to you".

The shoes are one of the most treasured pieces of Hollywood memorabilia and have been valued at $3.5 million (approximately €3.26m).

They remain in the custody of the Agency and it’s unlikely they’ll be released any time soon, although it’s possible to see another pair of the red sequined slippers at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.

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