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Ruby Slippers Stolen in the Night 13 Years Ago Are Found

But a big mystery remains
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2018 9:11 AM CDT
Updated Sep 4, 2018 2:26 PM CDT
This April 10, 1996, file photo shows one of the four pairs of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in the 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz" on display during a media tour of the "America's Smithsonian" traveling...   (AP Photo/Ed Zurga, File)

(Newser) – It required more than three clicks of the heel to get these ruby slippers home—it took 13 years. Law enforcement officials announced Tuesday that the shoes stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in her hometown of Grand Rapids, Minn., in late August 2005 have been found—but no thief has been apprehended. The Minneapolis Star Tribune cites North Dakota US Attorney Chris Myers as saying authorities are still looking for the person responsible; no suspects were mentioned. The FBI reports in the summer of 2017, the company that insured the shoes for $1 million was contacted by an individual with a tip; officials are vague on details beyond that but say the slippers were ultimately recovered during a sting operation in Minneapolis.

The Smithsonian didn't just confirm the slippers were the genuine article, per the FBI: They realized the stolen pair and the one at the museum are "mismatched twins." The Duluth News Tribune reports the pair in question, one of four known to exist, wasn't to remain at the Judy Garland Museum but were on a 10-week loan from owner Michael Shaw. In the wake of the slippers' disappearance, police learned that an emergency exit door window was broken and that the museum's alarm system was never triggered as it hadn't been set on the evening in question. The oddest turn in the case came in 2015, when divers with the Itasca County Sheriff's Office followed up on a rumor the shoes had been put in Tupperware and tossed into the water that filled the Tioga Mine Pit; divers found only a small duffel bag and an old tin can. (Read more ruby slippers stories.)

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