Stolen Ruby Slippers From ‘Wizard Of Oz’ Found After 13 Years

The iconic red ruby slippers get their color from sequins, but the bows of the shoes contain red glass beads. The alarm didn't sound, and no fingerprints were left behind.

Grand Rapids police chief Scott Johnson said his officers never gave up on the effort to recover the treasures. "Over the years, our officers investigated numerous tips as they came in, eliminating each one".

The FBI has recovered about 14,850 stolen artifacts valued at more than $165 million since 2004. Each proved not to be the missing slippers.

The slippers are valued at upwards of $3 million, and could fetch as much as $5 million at auction, but selling them would have been hard given the highly publicized theft.

"Sometime between 5:45 PM on August 27th and 9:45 Am on August 28th, a burglar broke a window in the museum's back door and entered", the Grand Rapids Police Department said in a news release. Investigators estimated that the heist took only seconds.

Some of the slippery slipper thieves were busted during an undercover sting operation earlier this summer. The FBI said it uncovered evidence of a recent attempt to extort and defraud the owner, the Markel Corporation, but offered little additional information about the plot.

"One way or another, over the course of time, the shoes will out you", said Thomas, who tracked down several pairs of the famed shoes for a Los Angeles Times article published in 1988.

"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", said Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Jill Sanborn.

The slippers are one of four pairs of ruby red slippers worn by Garland in the movie that are known to exist.

The Smithsonian said its pair of slippers will be back on public display on October 19. The F.B.I. brought the purloined pair to objects conservator Dawn Wallace for a look. Officials declined to address why Myers was assigned to the case or whether the state had any connection to the investigation. They were able to determine that the recovered pair was indeed genuine. The North Dakota link to the case wasn't evident and authorities declined to explain it.

Conservators at the Smithsonian discovered that the recovered slippers, which are almost 80 years old, were constructed the same way as the pair on display in D.C. and that the two pairs are mismatched twins that were mixed up over the years. The pair recovered by the F.B.I. turned out to be the mates of the museum's shoes (which are set to go back on display in a climate-controlled case on October 19). The others he was instructed to destroy. She sold them at auction in 1988 to a private collector for $165,000. The fifth test pair, which did not appear in the film, were owned by the late Debbie Reynolds. There's no word yet on what is planned for the kicks, which could be worth a million dollars.

  • Kyle Peterson