Maybe if he clicks his heels three times, he’ll get to Oz.
A man faces federal charges for allegedly stealing a pair of the iconic sequined ruby slippers that Judy Garland clicked her heels in and skipped along the yellow brick road in the 1939 classic “Wizard of Oz.”
Terry Martin was indicted by a federal grand jury for the theft of an object of cultural heritage from the care, custody, or control of a museum, authorities said in a news release.
The indictment, filed Tuesday in a federal court in Minneapolis, charges Martin with one count of theft of major artwork, officials said.
The shoes, known as the “traveling pair,” are one of several pairs used in the movie classic. Only four pairs used in the film are known to exist.
The slippers, appraised at $3.5 million, are among the most recognizable American film memorabilia from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.
The slippers were nabbed early Aug. 28, 2005, from the museum, once the childhood home of Judy Garland, one of Grand Rapids’ most famous stars, who played Dorothy Gale in the classic enjoyed by generations of movie lovers.
They were found more than a dozen years later after officials said an individual approached the company that insured the slippers, saying he had information about the shoes and how they could be returned, authorities said.
“When it became apparent that those involved were, in reality, attempting to extort the owners of the slippers,” said Special Agent Christopher Dudley, who led the investigation from the FBI’s Minneapolis Field Office.
The slippers were recovered in July 2018 during an undercover operation in Minneapolis after nearly a yearlong investigation with the help of the FBI’s Art Crime Team, the FBI Laboratory and field offices in Chicago, Atlanta, and Miami, officials said.
The nearly 80-year-old slippers were transported to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington and analyzed.
The recovered shoes showed their construction, materials, and wear were consistent with the pair in the museum’s collection, donated to the museum by an anonymous donor in 1979.
“And it turns out the recovered shoes and the pair in the museum’s collection are mismatched twins,” officials said.
Smithsonian curator Ryan Lintelman, who specializes in American film history, said there were probably six or more pairs of the slippers made for the movie.
“It was common that you would create multiple copies of costumes and props,” he said.
Somehow, the pairs of shoes were mixed up over the years.
Lintelman said the Smithsonian’s ruby slippers “are among the most requested objects by visitors to the museum. There is an emotional response that visitors have,” he said. “People’s eyes light up.”
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