USA authorities announced they have recovered the famous sequined shoes - one of four pairs worn by Judy Garland in the 1939 American classic film.
The slippers, known as the "traveling pair", were stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, during a "smash-and-grab" robbery during the overnight hours of August 27-27, 2005 that took less than a minute and left behind only a single sequin.
The operation was possible after a man approached the shoes' insurer and said he could help get them back, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said on Tuesday (local time). The FBI says it set up a sting operation and recovered the slippers. The slippers are estimated to be worth millions of dollars at auction.
This April 10, 1996, file photo shows one of the four pairs of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in the 1939 film.
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The famous sequined shoes were taken from a display case in a museum in Minnesota 13 years ago.
Michael Shaw, the slippers' owner who loaned them to the museum, told the News Tribune in 2005 that the theft was "the worst nightmare for me". Museum officials wanted to keep the slippers in a safe every night, but Shaw didn't want other people touching the delicate artifacts. For 13 years, police and private investigators have sought the shoes-and the $1 million reward that goes along with them-but with no breaks.
Entertainment Weekly reports that the Minneapolis FBI, the North Dakota U.S. Attorney's Office, and the Grand Rapids Police Department will hold a press conference this afternoon to release more specific information on the recovery of the stolen shoes.
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The ruby slippers are an iconic piece of cinema, as recognizable as Toto or the Wicked Witch of the West.
"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", he added. Shaw was eventually paid $800,000 for the shoes, but has largely left the fervor of the issue behind, stating today when asked that, "there's more to my life than a pair of pumps".
Jill Sanborn, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Minneapolis division, said a new tip received last summer helped lead to finding the slippers.
Myers said he would handle any prosecution.
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The hometown of actress Judy Garland was rocked when someone broke into a museum dedicated to the Wizard of Oz star and absconded with her ruby slippers.