The ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” are finally returning home.
Thirteen years after the pair of sparkly shoes was stolen from a Minnesota museum, the FBI announced on Tuesday it had recovered the costume pieces during a summer sting operation.
“At the heart of nearly every art crime, we see greed woven into the fabric of the scheme — greed to take it, and greed to profit from its return,” Jill Sanborn, special agent in charge of the Minneapolis Division of the FBI, said in a statement. “Dorothy’s slippers are a treasured piece of Americana, and we are hoping members of the public can help us better fill in the details that will finish the script of this mystery so we can hold accountable all those who were behind the scheme.”
The shoes were insured for $1 million and an anonymous donor offered another $1 million for their safe return, but the offer expired after 10 years.
After the shoes were stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids in 2005, they disappeared completely until an individual offered the museum more information about the heist last year. In the FBI’s statement on Tuesday, it said the theft was an attempt to extort the Markel Corporation, the owner of the slippers.
Multiple suspects have been identified, including those involved with the initial theft and the more recent extortion attempt.
The pair is one of four in existence. At least two others are owned by private collectors, including a joint ownership by Leonardo DiCaprio and Steven Spielberg for display at the Academy Museum of Motion Picture. Another is housed at the Smithsonian.