After 13 years being away from home, the FBI announced today (Sept. 4) that a stolen pair ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard Oz have been recovered.
A sting operation spearheaded by the Minneapolis branch the FBI brought an essential piece pop culture memorabilia back to Grand Rapids, Minnesota, Judy Garland's childhood home and the site the Judy Garland Museum — where the shoes were held before their theft in 2005.
The pair ruby slippers was originally insured for $1 million, and has since been valued by the Judy Garland Museum for upwards $2 million since it was forcibly removed from the museum, according to a 2015 story from the Associated Press. (One especially passionate fan fered $1 million for the slippers’ whereabouts in 2015.)
Though there were multiple pairs slippers used in the production the legendary 1939 musical, four slippers used in filming are known to currently exist. In addition to the recently recovered pair, one is currently housed in the National Museum American History in Washington, D.C., another purchased by a consortium movie lovers (chief among them Leonardo DiCaprio) that will be on display upon the opening the Academy Museum Motion Pictures in 2019, and another in possession by a private collector. Actress Debbie Reynolds owns another pair that were used only in screen tests.
After the pair were procured in Minneapolis earlier this summer, they were verified by Smithsonian curators — who compared them to the pair held in the museum, and confirmed their resemblance to one another.
But the case still isn’t over. Special Agent Christopher Dudley, who led the investigation into the missing ruby-red slippers, still believes that there are people at large with information pertaining to the case.
“Recovering a cultural item this importance is significant,” said Dudley in an FBI statement. “So many people all ages around the world have seen The Wizard Oz and in that way have some connection to the slippers. That’s one the things that makes this case resonate with so many.”