Rubenstein identified one of the four Rockwell burglars in his book because that man had died: Kent Anderson, brother of comedian Louie Anderson. The recently retrieved shoes first vanished in … One day I sat in Mattson’s office as he talked about the ruby slippers case, but I was distracted by the felony’s worth of heroin sitting on his desk. Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers are on display at The Smithsonian National Museum of American History. But anyway, all we had i As Wittman likes to say, “The real art in an art heist isn’t the stealing, it’s the selling,” and most thieves are caught when they try to unload the artwork. Grand Rapids, Minn., investigator Brian Mattson inside the childhood home of Judy Garland. The man on the line said he was with the FBI and told her that they had just recovered what they believed to be the stolen ruby slippers. We believed that information would eventually surface and knew we were in this for the long haul." Mattson continued to negotiate a safe return of the shoes with the lawyer, but by October, weeks had gone by without a word. “It’s one of the most requested things at our visitor services desk,” says Lintelman. The FBI said no one has yet been arrested or charged in the case, but they have "multiple suspects" and continue to investigate. Kelsch has modified his story about this, and he gave me two different answers during our hours of interviews, at first saying he couldn’t understand why the door had been left unlocked, and then later saying that they had left that door open on purpose because problems with the HVAC system had made the gallery too hot. The afternoon I drove to the Judy Garland Museum, I nearly missed the entrance off Pokegama Avenue, one of the main highways through Grand Rapids. Debbie Reynolds purchased these at auction for her Hollywood museum, which never got off the ground. The alarm did not sound to a central dispatch system and no fingerprints were left behind – only a single red sequin. Most said that the shoes had been spotted — in a restaurant down south, or in a dry cleaner’s in Chicago, or hidden in the back of a storage unit. Dorothy’s stolen ruby slippers eventually caught the eye of the authorities, and the slipper napper was captured. Soon, I was pulled into the mystery, too. But within the first 2 days of wear, a lot of sparkles came off. This also gave the shoes the power to encourage the murder of the wearer by someone who wanted them badly enough. Generations of Americans know them from Dorothy’s journey in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, and millions of visitors have seen the pair on display here at the National Museum of American History since their donation in 1979.. She texted back: “All that work for a pair of stripper shoes?” The next day, Mattson showed up to the station to find a box of doughnuts covered in red sprinkles. “There were floppy disks” — containing the original crime scene photos — “and I had to hunt down a floppy disk player,” he says. The conservators wondered if all that light might be damaging the shoes. The lawyer said the Middle Man had retained his services because the holders of the shoes didn’t like that he was talking to the police. “There were so many interesting people along the way,” Mattson says. I might even put a 24-hour guard there, because why not?”, Bennett spent hours interviewing the museum employees, as did an investigator from the Essex Insurance Co., part of the Markel Corp., which had insured the slippers. “I’m going to find the slippers,” he told his wife. Maddalena assures me that should the recovered slippers hit the auction block today, they would be valued between $2 million and $5 million. And that’s part of the fun sometimes, the pursuit. Jody Hane, a writer and researcher at the historical society, says her colleagues were impressed — at first. Kelsch walked me through an enclosed corridor connecting the museum galleries to the historic house, and when we got to the stairwell in the living room he paused. And as it turns out, Bruce Rubenstein told me that, in December 2018, several months after the shoes were recovered, Chris Dudley — the FBI agent in charge of the ruby slippers case — showed up unannounced at his condo building outside Minneapolis wanting to discuss the identity of the thieves behind the Rockwell heist. The letter writer claimed to have sequins “identical to those used to make a pair of replica ruby slippers” for Shaw, which he enclosed in the envelope. Nothing came of the dive, and the reward expired before it could be claimed. In the 1960s, Warner, and others like him, made money finding and selling costumes and props. The statute of limitations on the original theft had expired, but authorities could get someone for possession of stolen property. That someone should abscond with the ruby slippers here, of all places, seems tragically poetic. It was a publicity stunt, by many accounts — what Miner dubbed a “Promotion Commotion” held during the Judy Garland Festival in June to help drum up interest in the case again. The lawyer ordered, and then he did something Mattson couldn’t believe: He left the bag with the slippers sitting on a table while he walked 30 feet down a hall to use the bathroom. The feds arranged a meeting in Minneapolis with the lawyer who had been speaking to Mattson; the lawyer was planning to bring the shoes. He told her that he had left explicit instructions in his will to open the envelope only after the crime had been solved. Mattson got a call from one of the FBI agents. Johnson didn’t think much more about it as she walked through the museum, turning on displays and lights as she went. Kelsch reached out to a bank to procure an on-site safe so that the shoes could be locked up each night, but Shaw balked at the idea. “He was yelling at us about ‘How could you let this happen on our watch?’ ” Schaar recalls. The FBI had recovered them in a sting operation in Minneapolis. He began by researching the defining characteristics of the original shoes, and most weeks he fielded a few calls or emails related to the theft as he went about the busy job of clearing cases and attending to crime victims. Grand Rapids is the town where the actress was born. In 2007, the insurance company finally paid Shaw $800,000 for the shoes. The detective told him that a big-time Hollywood producer had made it known he wanted to buy real ruby slippers, and that he’d been contacted by someone claiming to have them. During the sequence where Dorothy meets the Scarecrow, Dorothy's pigtails are first short (above her shoulders) and as the song progresses her hair gets longer (below her shoulders), then short, and then long again. Wallace’s graduate research had been in early plastics, and when the Smithsonian determined it was time to study and clean its pair of ruby slippers in 2016, she jumped at the chance. “The scope of this was always a recovery,” Mattson says. Kelsch was the one to call Michael Shaw at his home in Los Angeles. The first few times I watched the film was on a black & white TV, okay, so I’m truly giving away how ancient I am. The museum suggested to Shaw that they store the slippers in a vault each night. At the house, you get to inhabit the quaint family homestead where a 2-year-old sang for the first time to the stunned silence of her family. “My mother had what we now call a genetic predisposition to chemical dependency,” Luft wrote. The Ruby Slippers, in the movie had another power that I can think of. Ozma agrees on the condition that she will look in on Dorothy from time to time and if she ever wishes to come back to Oz it will be granted. Kelsch was surprised that the police didn’t dust for more prints in the museum, a decision that some would later criticize as sloppy. Over the course of several calls, Mattson got the Middle Man to admit that he’d been promised a percentage of any reward money that might come from the slippers’ return. Mattson says he now understands “that this was not just a stupid prank. At 1:44 p.m., Bennett sent out a BOLO (be on the lookout) alert across the region, asking law enforcement to watch for shoes that are “dark ruby red in color … and valued at $1 million.”, “Can you imagine getting that BOLO?” says investigator Brian Mattson. In Oz, the origin story of the slippers is never disclosed; the shoes simply transfer to Dorothy’s feet already imbued with magical powers. Only when she surrenders the ruby slippers to the Wicked Witch to save Toto does she sacrifice herself to the witch’s mercy. I Promise: What I didn’t tell her was that she, Dorothy, has had the ruby slippers all along and it was just a matter of time before she clicked those heals and moved forward from her land of Oz, and on with her great life. In 2013, Rubenstein published what he learned in his book “The Rockwell Heist.” Four Minnesota-based thieves, three of whom had mob ties, had targeted Elayne Galleries that night. A viable market for Hollywood memorabilia “had yet to emerge,” wrote Rhys Thomas in his book “The Ruby Slippers of Oz: Thirty Years Later,” “and it wasn’t a concept about which Kerkorian cared.”, The financier sold the contents of MGM for $1.5 million to an auctioneer named David Weisz, and a young costumer named Kent Warner was one of the people who helped sort the vast ephemera for an auction in 1970. “He said, ‘Michael, get over here, you can’t believe what I’ve been told to get rid of,’ and when I got there Kent told me that 10 minutes earlier someone had pulled a complete Errol Flynn Robin Hood costume out of the trash,” Shaw recalls. For decades, a different burglary had stood as the largest cultural theft in Minnesota history. “These people went dark on me,” he says. Years later, Shaw began taking his shoes to shopping malls and “Wizard of Oz” festivals across the country for a fee; they became known as the Traveling Shoes. It’s the FBI!”. The slippers were stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Shaw had the other two. “Then he told me he was in, 100 percent.” (The FBI declined to comment for this story because the case is ongoing. After many viewings of THE WIZARD OF OZ, I've come to believe that Glinda (the self-proclaimed "Good" Witch) had NO RIGHT to give the ruby slippers that belonged to the deceased Witch of the East to Dorothy, whose arrival in the Land of Oz was instrumental in the Witch of the East's death. The fact that Glenda magically removes the shoes from the feet of the Wicked Witch is overwhelming to Dorothy. “People make pilgrimages to this museum and to Washington, D.C., just to see the slippers, so they’re gutted if they aren’t here,” Lintelman explains. This meant taking the shoes off display for an indefinite amount of time. Now They’ve Been Found. Some states want to buy their own vaccines. You remain diligent. The family hadn’t left, according to this version; they’d been driven out. Some months he was taking a hundred calls. “And I thought, what are they going to do with the slippers? Perhaps, the letter said, Shaw had never sent the real slippers to the museum at all. In the end, the FBI walked out with the shoes. 1 Canon 2 Fanon 3 Fandom 4 Trivia 5 Gallery 6 Navigation PAST Mulan and Red arrive in Oz searching for Red’s pack. The ruby slippers at a news conference in 2018. Rubenstein says it wouldn’t surprise him to learn that one or more were connected to the slippers theft that occurred 27 years later. When Roberta Bauman’s pair went on display at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando in 1989, the shoes warranted a security guard and several cameras. Rubenstein told me that Anderson had been the lookout on the heist. At the Garland Museum, Mattson, left, shows Kelsch cellphone photos of the ruby slippers. The museum, founded in 1975, once occupied a single room in a historic building downtown, but it moved out here in 2003 to a purpose-built gallery next to where a Walmart and a Target command vast expanses of asphalt sprawl. Weisz, who died in 1981, was not a Hollywood insider; rather he was an antiques guy who knew furniture. Dorothy then puts the ruby slippers on Ozma's feet and asks her to wish her back to Kansas. Debbie Reynolds came to own the Arabian test slippers — an ornate design that never made it onto the screen — and those last auctioned in 2011 for $627,300. The Smithsonian’s ruby slippers are inside a guarded museum, in a gallery with cameras and behind an alarmed case, among other security measures the museum won’t disclose. No alarm? He wanted to know if the Smithsonian could look at the shoes to help confirm that they were real. Glenda bestows the slippers onto Dorothy’s feet. Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers Were Stolen 13 Years Ago. When it wrapped in 1939, “The Wizard of Oz” was one of the most expensive movies ever made. The man on the line said he was with the FBI and told her that they had just recovered what they believed to be the stolen ruby slippers. These slippers are far more ornate, sporting curled toes and brighter sequins. Red began to explain, "Dorothy went to face her and just disappeared. If you haven’t seen this film, you should. She said they were at the house of a local man who had been long rumored to have stolen the shoes. After Morgan got the photo, he showed it to Stein. Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers From ‘The Wizard of Oz’ Finally Return—and It’s No Joke for the FBI NO PLACE LIKE HOME The FBI announced the return of a … Dorothy, Toto, and their home are all swept up by a cyclone and dropped into the magical Land of Oz. In September 2017, Mattson got another interesting call, this time from a Minnesota-based lawyer. Around 2010 he started researching the case for a story. And picture this—shortly after the auction was over, with news of its then-unheard-of $15,000 bid circulating the news wire, a woman from Tennessee stepped forward. Most of the police scrutiny that day focused on the emergency door. At the time they were stolen, the slippers were on loan to the museum by private collector Michael Shaw as part of a special tour. Finally.’ ”. Deep gouges in the earth have filled with rain and groundwater over the years, and at 300 feet deep in places, the pit lakes are said to house proof of untold crimes. When I gain those ruby slippers, my power will be the greatest in Oz. The insurance company investigated me 10 times till Sunday” before paying out the policy. “Hollywood became the narrative-making center for the entire world.”, From conception, “The Wizard of Oz” “was planned to feature the fantasy of Oz in color and the reality of Kansas in black and white,” Fricke wrote in “The Wizard of Oz: The Official 50th Anniversary Pictorial History.” The drabness of real life vs. the sparkle of Oz was highlighted the moment Dorothy landed among the Munchkins. I never would have left the shoes if I knew there was such a lack of security.” (Kelsch denies the museum misled Shaw, adding that the contract for the shoes coming to the museum makes “no mention of any specific security measures.”). “All she had to say was, ‘They’re gone,’ ” Kelsch recalls, “and I knew exactly what she meant.”, At 1:44 p.m., Gene Bennett of the Grand Rapids Police Department sent out an alert across the region, asking law enforcement to watch for shoes that are “dark ruby red in color ... and valued at $1 million.”. Bennett brought the man to the station and asked the state police — the only ones with polygraph technology — to give him a lie-detector test. It also didn’t record, so there was no opportunity to scrutinize visitors from the weeks leading up to the theft. He gave the sequin to Bennett, who put it in an envelope, where it remained, locked in a safe at the Grand Rapids police station, for the better part of 13 years. 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