Stolen Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz Recovered by FBI

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced that it has recovered one of the famous pairs of ruby slippers worn by actress Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.

According to the FBI’s release, “the iconic sequined shoes, known as the ‘traveling pair’—one of at least four pairs used in the film that are still in existence—were stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota in 2005 and recovered earlier this summer during a sting operation.”

Although the slippers were recovered and returned to their rightful place, the FBI has seemingly yet to round up all responsible parties and is still actively working the case.

“From the outset, our top priority was the safe recovery of the slippers,” according to FBI Special Agent Christopher Dudley, who led the investigation. However, Dudley notes that agents “are still working to ensure that we have identified all parties involved in both the initial theft and the more recent extortion attempt for their return. This is very much an active investigation.”

In announcing the slippers’ recovery at a press conference, Dudley petitioned members of the public for additional information.

“There are certainly people out there who have additional knowledge regarding both the theft and the individuals responsible for concealing the slippers all these years.” Dudley said. “We are asking that you come forward.”

The slippers, after being stolen in 2005, were ultimately used as a means to attempt to extort the slippers’ original owners. Upon learning this detail, the FBI became involved. Last summer, 12 years after the theft, “an individual approached the company that insured the slippers, saying he had information about the shoes and how they could be returned.” That development prompted a year-long joint investigation between the Grand Rapids Police Department and the FBI, including “invaluable assistance from the FBI’s Art Crime Team, the FBI Laboratory, and field offices in Chicago, Atlanta, and Miami.”

Upon recovering the slippers, the FBI “transported the recovered slippers to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.—where another pair of the ruby slippers has been on display since 1979—for analysis and comparison.”

“Recovering a cultural item of this importance is significant,” the FBI’s Dudley noted. “So many people of all ages around the world have seen The Wizard of Oz and in that way have some connection to the slippers. That’s one of the things that makes this case resonate with so many.”

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