published : 2023-10-14

Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing 'Wizard of Oz' Ruby Slippers in Minnesota Museum Heist

Terry Jon Martin, accused of stealing Judy Garland's iconic ruby slippers, is expected to change his plea to guilty in court.

A photo of Judy Garland wearing the iconic ruby slippers, taken with a Nikon D850 camera.

A man charged with the theft of a pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in 'The Wizard of Oz' is set to plead guilty in court.

Terry Jon Martin, 76, was indicted on one count of theft of a major artwork after the slippers were stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in 2005 and recovered in 2018.

Having lived near Grand Rapids, Minnesota, Martin was arrested this year and is now expected to change his plea to guilty.

Martin's attorney, Dane DeKrey, revealed that his client, who is in poor health, has been cooperative with him during the legal process.

The indictment did not provide details on how investigators tracked down Martin, but he has a previous conviction for receiving stolen goods.

A close-up shot of the stolen ruby slippers recovered by the FBI, captured with a Canon EOS R camera.

The ruby slippers are of great cultural value as only four authentic pairs remain, and federal prosecutors estimate their current market value at around $3.5 million.

The shoes were insured for $1 million and were recovered in an FBI sting operation in Minneapolis after a man approached the insurer claiming he could assist in their retrieval.

A plea agreement has been reached between Martin's attorney and federal prosecutor Matt Greenley, with a sentencing date expected to be set in three months.

While the recommended sentence under nonbinding federal guidelines is eight to ten years, the specific recommendation will not be disclosed at this time.

Taking into account Martin's health condition, U.S. District Judge Patrick Schiltz agreed to hold the hearing in Duluth rather than requiring Martin to travel.

An image of the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, where the stolen slippers were on display, photographed using a Sony A7 III camera.

The stolen ruby slippers were on loan to the museum from Hollywood memorabilia collector Michael Shaw and were part of the largest known collection of Garland and 'Wizard of Oz' memorabilia.

The slippers played a key role in the iconic 1939 film, and their theft has remained a mystery for 18 years, with several rewards offered for information.

This plea announcement brings an end to the anticipation surrounding the case, shedding light on the motives and circumstances behind the famous stolen slippers.

Judy Garland, born Frances Gumm in 1922, lived in Grand Rapids until the age of four before moving to Los Angeles, where she tragically passed away in 1969.

The Judy Garland Museum, located in the house where she lived, is home to the world's largest collection of Garland and 'Wizard of Oz' memorabilia.