A pair of ruby red slippers worn by Judy Garland as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz that were stolen 13 years ago have been recovered, according to the FBI.

The slippers are one of four known surviving pairs worn by the actress during filming of the beloved 1939 classic.

wizard of oz

Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

They were taken from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, in 2005, where they were on loan from Hollywood memorabilia collector Michael Shaw for the city’s annual Wizard of Oz festival.

Authorities will release more details this afternoon at a press conference at 1pm Central. It is not yet clear if any arrests have been made or if the investigation is ongoing. Sgt. Roger Stein said in a statement they were recovered in Minneapolis earlier this summer.

The shoes, which were insured for $1 million, were stolen sometime during the night of August 27 or the morning of August 28, with the thief breaking a window and a Plexiglas case to obtain them. The alarm did not sound to a central dispatch station and no fingerprints were found at the scene, police said.

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 difficult given the highly publicized theft.


UPDATE: The FBI, alongside the Grand Rapids Police Department, have announced multiple suspects have been identified.

“We are still working to ensure that we have identified all parties involved in both the initial theft and the more recent extortion attempt for their return. This is very much an active investigation,” said Special Agent Christopher Dudley, who led the investigation from the FBI’s Minneapolis Division.

“From the outset, our top priority was the safe recovery of the slippers,” he added.

Dudley also put out a call for anyone with information that would help identify other possible collaborators to come forward.

“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. We are asking that you come forward.”

A video from the FBI detailing the investigation, which was carried out with assistance from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, follows.


Journalist based in Charlotte, North Carolina, whose work has appeared in The Charlotte Observer, Creative Loafing, and more.