Even if, by some miracle, you have never seen The Wizard of Oz, there is no denying that Dorothy’s iconic ruby red slippers are one of the most famous pieces of footwear in movie history.
So when one of four pairs worn by leading lady Judy Garland were stolen from the actress’ namesake museum in 2005, staff at the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, could do nothing but cry.
But now, 13-years later, the legendary slippers have finally been recovered, as the FBI announced the news during a press conference on Tuesday, unveiling the famous shoes from the 1939 movie.
“At the heart of nearly every art crime, we see greed woven into the fabric of the scheme – greed to take it, and greed to profit from its return,” Special Agent Jill Sanborn said.
“Dorothy’s slippers are a treasured piece of Americana, and we are hoping members of the public can help us better fill in the details that will finish the script of this mystery so we can hold accountable all those who were behind the scheme.”
The recovered slippers – known as the ‘traveling pair’ – were stolen from the museum in the overnight hours of August 27-28, 2005 and staff at the time said they were “literally crying” after discovering they had been taken, reports CNN.
For 13 years, the fate of a missing pair of red sequined slippers worn by actress Judy Garland as Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz" has eluded law enforcement. But there's no place like home, as they say, and the shoes have been found, according to the FBI https://t.co/PBh0iN7kl4 pic.twitter.com/LkasHaNRIY
— CNN (@CNN) September 4, 2018
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 FBI in 2017, who then located the missing piece of showbiz history in July this year.
“When the slippers were snatched in the early morning burglary, the thieves not only took the slippers, they took a piece of history that will be forever connected to Grand Rapids and one of our city’s most famous children,” said Grand Rapids Police Chief Scott Johnson.
“We were confident this day would eventually come, and we are grateful to the FBI and all those who worked to bring this piece of cinematic treasure out of the shadows and into the light. After all,” he said, quoting a famous line from The Wizard of Oz, ‘There’s no place like home.’”
Following the recovery of the slippers, they were taken to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. where conservators examined them to ensure they were the missing pair, which had been worn by Garland during filming.
Officers are still working to identify those responsible for the theft and have issued a plea for help from the public.