MGM



A pair of Dorothy's iconic ruby slippers from "The Wizard of Oz" is finally on its way home: The FBI announced this week that it had recovered the iconic shoes after they were stolen more than a decade ago.

Little information about the footwear's whereabouts in the ensuing years has been released so far, but the FBI and Grand Rapids Police Department confirmed on Tuesday that they had finally found the famous slippers, which were stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota in August of 2005. According to authorities, the shoes were on loan from a private collector and on display at the museum as part of a traveling exhibit, when someone broke in through the back door overnight, smashing a display case and making off with the prized footwear.

Investigators were stumped by the crime, which yielded surprisingly little evidence (no fingerprints were found, and an alarm never rang), save for "a single [sequin] that had fallen off one of the slippers." Used in close-up shots of Garland's feet in "Oz," the incredibly valuable shoes are one of four rumored pairs in existence, and are insured for $1 million and worth between $2 million and $3 million. But despite their status as one of the most recognizable artifacts in film history, they eluded authorities for years, and their recovery certainly sounds like it could make for its own big-screen feature.

In a statement, Grand Rapids Police Sergeant Robert Stein described the years-long hunt for the slippers:
"The investigator assigned to the case was fearful that the thief might destroy the slippers if he believed the police were on his trail. 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. Over the years, our officers investigated numerous tips as they came in, eliminating each one. The problem is that there are a great many reproductions out there and people believed that these were the stolen slippers. Each proved not to be the missing slippers. As recently as two weeks ago, we received a telephone call from a psychic telling us that she was sure she knew where the slippers were.”

It seems unlikely that that last tip led to the shoes, though authorities declined to discuss further details of the case, citing the open nature of the investigation. It's unclear what will happen to the slippers now (will that private collector seal them in a vault somewhere?), but we're glad that they're finally safe and sound. Maybe the Smithsonian can restore them, too?

[via: Yahoo! Entertainment]