Missing “Ruby Red Slippers” Found After 13 Years
The “Ruby Red Slippers” have been found. After being stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids 13 years ago, authorities have located the famous slippers worn in the Wizard of Oz.
“Everybody loves the ruby slippers because it gives you a lease on life. Dreams do come true. There’s no place like home,” said Jon Miner, member of the Judy Garland Museum Board of Directors.
The slippers are in possession of the Federal Bureau of Investigation after disappearing 13 years ago in the middle of the night. A thief smashed a Plexiglas case resting in the gallery at the Judy Garland Museum and escaped with the slippers. No fingerprints were left behind.
“The burglar or burglars were in and out in a matter of no time. The alarm was not activated. It wasn’t until the next morning when the museum had discovered the actual break in and the theft of the ruby red slippers,” explained Steven Schaar, Grand Rapids Assistant Chief of Police.
The slippers are one of four known pairs worn by Judy Garland in the 1939 film. One of the other pairs is currently in the Smithsonian Museum.
The break in the case came last summer when the Grand Rapids Police Department received a tip which led investigators to look outside the state of Minnesota, leading to the FBI getting involved.
“Working very [collaboratively] with our local partners in Grand Rapids, we received a new tip and some information that we dillegently pursued,” explained FBI official Jill Sanborn during the afternoon press conference. “Lots of interviews, several searches, only to later lead this summer to the recovery of the slippers.”
After locating the slippers in Minneapolis, investigators were able to match a single sequin that was left behind during the theft to the slippers, confirming their identity.
“There’s other identifying marks in the ruby red slippers that were obvious that these were the stolen slippers,” Assistant Chief Schaar added.
Though the slippers have been found, the investigation into who is responsible for the theft is still ongoing.
“Our hope today is that folks that are watching this, if you know something about the theft, something about where these slippers have been in the last 13 years, that you come forward and you share that with us,” added Sanborn at the press conference.
For the people of Grand Rapids, after 13 years they can now breathe a sigh of relief.
“We’re proud of our police department in Grand Rapids and we’re proud that they hung in there for 13 years and kept after it,” said Miner.
“These shoes to have sentimental value, not only to the citizens of Grand Rapids but to the world,” added Schaar.
“They’re more than just a pair of shoes, the slippers. They are an enduring symbol of the power of belief,” said Grand Rapids Police Chief Scott Johnson at the press conference.
Anyone with additional information regarding the theft of the ruby slippers is encouraged to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) or submit information online at tips.fbi.gov.