FBI Find Lost Ruby Slippers After Going Undercover

Movie Magic happens in real life too!

One of Hollywood’s most iconic symbols and one that had been stolen in 2005 has been found and returned. A pair of the famed Red Ruby slippers from the 1939 movie “Wizard of Oz” has been recovered in the state of Minnesota after being missing when they were stolen back in August 2005.

Ruby Slippers

The slippers themselves are an iconic image in American cinema as they are a central part of the 1939 movie version of “The Wizard of Oz” that is one of the most well-known movies of all time, Thanks to the longtime annual tradition of being shown on CBS before the rights were moved to Time Warner and Ted Turner.

The iconic footwear was one of four pairs worn by Garland herself during the movie. At the time of their theft in 2005, they were a part of a festival for the movie held in Garland’s hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Originally the slippers were on loan from Collector Michael Shaw and were being used for the festival. Although it was offered to store the slippers in a locked vault at night, Shaw refused at the time. The thinking was that the movement and the state of staying in a vault would harm the slippers. It was then that someone broke into the back door of the museum and smashed the glass display case before the ruby slippers disappeared. The slippers themselves were under an insurance policy and were worth about $1 Million.

Most iconic shoes in movies

In the years since the robbery, few leads had turned into solid clues for police. Theories that had come the authorities’ way was that it may have been an “inside job” and that someone within the museum was the thief. That was strongly denied by the organizers of the festival and the museum itself. There was also a tip the pair had ended up in the Smithsonian and part of a traveling exhibit. That was shot down as those on display with that museum were another pair. During the 40th anniversary of the festival in 2015, cops and dive teams were brought in to search the Tioga Mine Pit lake on a rumor that the slippers had been tossed in the drink. The results were not conclusive.

Last year the FBI was brought aboard the case and they looked over the clues and tried to find leads that would end the case. This work begot a single sequin that was found off one of the slippers.  Then after a lot of work, the slippers were then seized in a raid and were eventually shown off during a press conference put on by the FBI and held at their Minnesota office. And in taking a cue from the movie, the famous line”There is no place like home” was used many times during the event. In this case, it is a very true statement.

On display by the FBI

No one was named as the thief of the slippers but it was said they were recovered after an undercover sting operation in the area. The investigation was handled by the FBI’s Art Crimes Team. According to Agent Christopher Dudley who headed up the investigation, “it became apparent that those involved were in reality attempting to extort the owners of the slippers.”

.The ruby slippers were supposedly found originally in 1970 in an auction at MGM. It is not known how many pairs were auctioned off back then but several pairs have popped up over the years. The pair owned by the Smithsonian has been under their guard since 1979.

While the name of the culprit has not come to light, it is also not known who clicked their heels together to make this little cinematic miracle happen. To all those involved in the search and investigation, there really is no place like home.

As for the Theif. The FBI WILL get you.


And your little dog too!


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