CHICAGO (AFP) – They are the world’s most recognisable sneakers, however have by some means evaded detection for 13 years since being stolen from a Minnesota museum.
But on Tuesday (Sept 5), the ruby-red slippers worn by Dorothy in The Wizard Of Oz got here home once more.
US authorities introduced that they had recovered the well-known sequined sneakers – one among 4 pairs worn by Judy Garland within the 1939 American traditional movie.
The sneakers have been snatched within the dead of night time in 2005 from a shattered glass case on the Judy Garland Museum within the late actress’s birthplace of Grand Rapids, Minnesota.
A US$1 million (S$1.three million) reward had been provided for his or her return. But the wrongdoer and the destiny of the sneakers had remained a thriller.
Authorities shed little gentle on what occurred to the sneakers, telling reporters solely that that they had recovered the well-known pair and that there have been “multiple suspects.”
They unveiled the sneakers – which seemed to be in good situation – in a glass case.
The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington – which has one other pair of Dorothy’s slippers on show – authenticated the recovered pair.
“It’s unbelievable,” Judy Garland Museum consultant Sue Plagemann advised AFP. “We never thought they’d be recovered. We thought they were lost forever.” .
Ever for the reason that 2005 theft, police within the metropolis of Grand Rapids have obtained quite a few ideas, chief Scott Johnson mentioned.
One tip claimed the sneakers have been nailed to a wall in a roadside diner. Another insisted they have been thrown in an iron-ore pit.
“Our police department followed up on each and every lead,” Johnson mentioned, including that it didn’t assist that numerous replicas have been in circulation.
But because the path grew chilly, it appeared much less and fewer probably that the sneakers would ever be seen once more.
The investigation picked up a yr in the past, when authorities mentioned an extortion try was made to the insurance coverage company that had taken possession declare to the slippers.
Local police contacted the FBI and a yearlong investigation started. The slippers have been recovered throughout an undercover operation in Minneapolis, the FBI mentioned.
“We’re not done. We have a lot of work to do,” mentioned North Dakota-based US Attorney Chris Myers. “There’s information out there that could help this investigation move forward.”
Authorities mentioned they wished to make sure that they had accounted for everybody concerned within the theft and the following concealment of the slippers by way of the years.
“Our hope today is that folks that are watching this, if you know something about the theft, something about where these slippers have been in the last 13 years, that you come forward and you share that with us,” mentioned FBI agent Jill Sanborn.
The stolen slippers have been one among 4 recognized surviving pairs used within the movie, and worn by Garland as she danced her means down the yellow-brick highway.
“They’re more than just a pair of shoes,” mentioned police chief Johnson. “They’re an enduring symbol of the power of belief.”