The Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota said the shoes were stolen from the museum 10 years ago. They were owned by collector Michael Shaw, who would deliver them to the museum once a year for display in a plexiglas case. Ten years ago, as Hurrican Katrina raged and no one was watching, police believe some youths did a smash-and-grab, taking the slippers.
A reward was offered, places were searched, including homes of other collectors. Judy Garland’s shoes never turned up.
When a fan realized the anniversary of the theft was coming up, they offered a reward of $1 million to get them back.
The reward specifies that the exact location of the slippers and the name of the person who stole them be divulged. Perhaps the hope is that, over the past 10 years, someone has gotten loose-lipped about having stolen the slippers. All it takes is for a former acquaintance of the thief to want to cash in and the theft could finally be solved.
John Kelsch, executive director of the Judy Garland Museum says the donor is a Judy Garland fan from Arizona.
“We didn’t think the offer was legitimate at first,” said museum spokesman Rob Feeney. “They wanted to remain anonymous. They only wanted to share that they are a huge Wizard of Oz fan, based in Arizona.”
There are three other pairs of the slippers used in the film. One pair is in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. Another is now owned by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences for its planned Oscars Museum.
Kelsch says the shoes were insured for $1 million, but could be worth $2 or $3 million now. It is unclear if the museum or original collector must give back the insurance money collected at the time of the theft if the shoes are recovered.
Apprehending the thief could be difficult, given the teleportation powers of the shoes...