The ruby slippers were almost at the end of a 10-week loan to the Judy Garland Museum when they were stolen sometime in the overnight hours of August 27-28 in 2005. Last summer, the Grand Rapids Police Department received a tip that took investigators outside of Minnesota, Johnson said.
"They're more than just a pair of shoes, the slippers". The alarm didn't sound, and no fingerprints were left behind.
The FBI says that the Markel Corp., which owns the slippers, was contacted previous year in an apparent extortion scheme. They haven't been displayed since April 23 of past year because of conservation work. "Therefore, when rumors developed that local wayward youth were most likely responsible for the theft and had tossed the slippers into the Mississippi River or in one of the many water-filled iron ore pits that dot the landscape, we did little to dispel it". "We believed that information would eventually surface and knew we were in this for the long haul".
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Museum co-founder Jon Miner told CNN affiliate KQDS in 2015 that the theft was "the biggest thing that ever happened to our museum".
The slippers are valued between $2 to $3 million, but could easily exceed that estimate at an auction. They were one of several pair created and worn in the movie by garland, who was born in Minnesota. Shaw had rejected an offer by the museum to store in the shoes in a vault each night for fear of the delicate items being handled too much.
At a news conference Tuesday, investigators unveiled the once-missing shoes, enclosed in a glass case on top of blue velvet linen. "They're an enduring symbol of the power of belief", Grand Rapids Police Chief Scott Johnson told reporters. The museum's security system was also lacking, and didn't notify police that a theft had occurred, so there were few leads.
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"We're the ones that want to find them because they were entrusted to us", Miner said. He said his office will file charges "as appropriate and if appropriate at a later time".
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 question is: Who do they return them to?
Meanwhile, a Tennessee schoolteacher won another pair in a contest in 1940.
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The authenticity of the slippers was verified by comparing them with another pair at the Smithsonian's American history museum in Washington, D.C.