2018-09-04 15:32:17 UTC
(CNN) Glinda, the Good Witch in "The Wizard of Oz," says it best when she
describes the appeal of those ruby red slippers to the Wicked Witch of the West:
"Their magic must be very powerful, or she wouldn't want them so badly."
And so, for 13 years, the fate of a missing pair of red sequined slippers worn
by actress Judy Garland as Dorothy has eluded law enforcement. But there's no
place like home, as they say, and the shoes have been found, according to the
On Tuesday afternoon, authorities intend to reveal details of the shoes'
recovery at the FBI Minneapolis headquarters. It's unclear if anyone will be
charged or where they could end up next.
The slippers were stolen in 2005 from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids,
The shoes are one of four known pairs that Garland wore as Dorothy in the 1939
film. They disappeared in the middle of the night in August 2005 from the Judy
Garland Museum in the actress' hometown of Grand Rapids, Minnesota.
A 2017 tip to Detective Brian Mattson led to "connections outside of the
Minnesota," the Grand Rapids Police Department said, explaining why the FBI took
the lead in the probe.
The shoes were recovered in Minneapolis earlier this summer, Sgt. Robert Stein
said in a statement, declining to provide details because the investigation
"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. "The thief smashed a Plexiglas case resting
on a wooden podium in the museum's gallery and made off with the slippers that
were insured for 1 million dollars. The alarm did not sound to a central
dispatch station. No fingerprints were left behind."
Investigators had no evidence, aside from a single sequin that had fallen off
one of the slippers, Stein said in a statement. Tips flowed in over the years --
including one from a psychic just last month -- but they led either nowhere or
Police worried that the culprit might destroy the slippers if she or he sensed
police were closing in, so investigators declined to dispel rumors, including
one that local rapscallions had tossed them in the Mississippi River or into an
ore pit in the area.
"We believed that information would eventually surface and knew we were in this
for the long haul," Stein said.
Museum co-founder Jon Miner told CNN affiliate KQDS in 2015 that the theft was
"the biggest thing that ever happened to our museum."
"We were literally crying," he told the station.
Since then, rumors swirled among residents and memorabilia collectors about
where over the rainbow they could be. Valued at $2 million to $3 million and
thought to be worth as much as $5 million at auction, they would be hard to sell
on the black market -- and even harder to hide.
"Whoever has them, illicitly, has their hands full with them," journalist Rhys
Thomas said in the 2016 documentary, "The Slippers."
"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.