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A pair of the red shoes from "The Wizard of Oz": With them, Judy Garland became famous as Dorothy

Photo: Ed Zurga / AP

The thief in the case of the stolen legendary red movie shoes from "The Wizard of Oz" is not in custody. This was decided by a court in the US state of Minnesota. 76-year-old Terry Jon Martin is terminally ill and confessed to the crime.

Martin stole the sequined shoes from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids in 2005. According to his defense, he had actually given up his life as a criminal - and was finally persuaded to carry out a "final coup". He apparently assumed that the shoes were decorated with real jewels. At the time of the theft, the shoes were insured for one million dollars, but according to media reports, the investigating authorities now estimate the market value at 3.5 million dollars.

Investigation success only in 2018

In fact, the high value of the shoes is explained by something else: actress Judy Garland wore them during the filming of the classic film “The Wizard of Oz” from 1939. The role of Dorothy made her famous. The ruby ​​red shoes have cult status among film fans.

After years of fruitless attempts to find the shoes, the FBI finally reported success in the investigation in 2018. However, Martin was not charged with theft until 2023. He pleaded guilty in October.

Convict in palliative care

The court sentenced Martin to “time served” as recommended by the prosecution and defense. This means that the prison sentence is considered to have been paid in full - usually because the defendant was in custody. In this case, however, the point is that Martin is receiving palliative care due to his health and cannot easily leave the house. He is expected to die in the coming months.

The court also ordered Martin to pay $23,500 ($300 per month) to the stolen museum. The presiding judge said he would probably have sentenced the defendant to ten years in prison if it had still been 2005.

A total of four pairs of the red shoes that Garland danced in in “The Wizard of Oz” still exist today. One of these pairs is on display at the National Museum of American History in Washington.