A pair of ruby slippers used in "The Wizard of Oz" and later stolen from a Minnesota museum were recovered in a sting operation after a man approached the shoes' insurer and said he could help get them back, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said Tuesday.
They went missing in August 2005 by someone who climbed through a window and broke into a small display case. The FBI released few details about that investigation or where they were found in July. A press conference is scheduled Tuesday afternoon with officials from the Minneapolis FBI, the North Dakota U.S. Attorney's Office and the Grand Rapids Police Department.
The FBI said the slippers would likely now be worth several million dollars if put up for auction.
One of four pairs of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, this one from the Smithsonian. One was the recovery of the slippers, and two was to find those responsible for the theft and hold them accountable for this particular scheme.
The FBI said it was asking the public to help identify suspects connected with the original theft and a more recent scheme to extort money from the owners of the red sequined shoes, one of four pairs worn by Judy Garland, who played Dorothy in the 1939 classic.
Michael Shaw, who purchased the shoes for $2,000 in 1970, according to the New York Times, was overjoyed to learn they had been found after more than a decade.
They are the world's most recognizable shoes, but have somehow evaded detection for 13 years since being stolen from a Minnesota museum. An alarm had been triggered, but a signal was reportedly not sent to police.
"This is a significant milestone, so we wanted to share that today", Sanborn said, noting the typically tight-lipped agency was breaking with its standard procedure by publicizing an ongoing investigation.
Tips led divers to a lake near Grand Rapids in June of 2015, to scour the bottom in search of the ruby slippers.
Grand Rapids police chief Scott Johnson said his officers never gave up on the effort to recover the treasures.
Ten years later, the museum worked with the Itasca County Sheriff's Dive Team to address the theory that someone had thrown the slippers in a nearby lake. The problem is that there are a great many reproductions out there and people believed that these were the stolen slippers. Second, the pair in the Smithsonian's collection is actually a mismatched pair of ruby slippers, with the left sized "5C" and the right sized "5BC". Another pair is owned by a private collector. Did you love the movie The Wizard of Oz when you were younger?
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