Click your heels together three times, because a pair of ruby slippers from the 1939 classic “The Wizard of Oz” is coming home.
The Minneapolis Division of the FBI announced Tuesday thata missing pair of authentic slippersthat Judy Garland wore while playing Dorothy Gale in the musical film has been recovered after more than a decade.
The iconic shoes, used during close-up shots of Dorothy clicking her heels, went missing from an exhibit in theJudy Garland Museumin her hometown of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, in August 2005.
“Thirteen years ago, the slippers were stolen in the middle of the night from a museum in Grand Rapids,” the city’s police chief, Scott Johnson, said at a joint press conference with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office Tuesday in Minneapolis. “Our police department followed up on each and every lead that we received over the years – everything from ‘they are nailed to a wall in a roadside diner in Missouri’ to ‘they’re at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.’ – yeah, we knew that – to ‘I was with my boyfriend when he threw them into a water-filled iron ore pit.”http://www.usatoday.com/”
Finally, after 13 years, a man contacted the company that had insured the slippers and said he had information on how the shoes could be returned. The FBI set up a sting operation and recovered the slippers.
Because the investigation is ongoing, the FBI didn’t go into specifics of the case but they said they have multiple suspects in the extortion and encouraged anyone with information to contact them.
The slippers’ authenticity was verified by comparing them with another pair at the Smithsonian’s American history museum in Washington, D.C., which were donated by an anonymous benefactor who bought them for $15,000 in 1979.
The recovered sequined slippers, which were created by Hollywood costume designer Gilbert Adrian, are one of at least four pairs known to exist, according to theSmithsonian.
Another pair was auctioned off for $666,000 in 2000. Actress Debbie Reynolds also owned a pair of the authentic ruby slippers, purchased at auction for $510,000 in 2011.
That is nothing close to the value placed on the newly recovered pair. The slippers, which were insured for $1 million, may be worth between $2 million and $3 million, John Kelsch, executive director of the Judy Garland Museum, told the Associated Press in 2015.
Thomas Shaw, who owned the missing pair of heels, told Forbes that this pair was used in the scene where Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, tells Dorothy, “Click your heels together three times and say ‘There’s no place like home’ and you’ll be there.”
Camera shutters began to click rapidly when Jill Sandborn, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Minneapolis field office, pulled back the curtain and showed the slippers for the first time in 13 years.
“They’re more than just a pair of shoes, the slippers,” Johnson said. “They’re an enduring symbol of the power of belief.”
Contributing: Jayme Deerwester, USA TODAY
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