The Wizard of Oz: Second man accused of stealing ruby ​​slippers worn by Judy Garland | News of Entities and Arts

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The shiny shoes were stolen in 2005 and remained missing for 13 years until the FBI recovered them in an undercover operation. They are estimated to be worth around $3.5 million (£2.75 million).

By Bethany Minelle, arts and entertainment reporter @BethanyMinelle

Monday 18 March 2024 1:58 PM, United Kingdom

A second man has been accused of stealing a pair of ruby ​​red slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz.

the shoes were recovered by the FBI in a 2018 sting operation – 13 years after they were stolen from a museum in the late actress’ hometown.

Jerry Hal Saliterman, 76, was charged with “theft of an important work of art” and witness tampering during a hearing at the St Paul District Court in St Paul, Minnesota. He did not plead guilty.

The footwear, adorned with sequins and glass beads, was taken from the judy garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, almost 20 years ago.

They were worn by her character, Dorothy, in the 1939 film, and are worth around $3.5 million (£2.75 million), according to federal prosecutors.

The Wizard of Oz. Photo: Bonhams

The indictment said that from August 2005 to July In 2018, Saliterman “received, concealed, and disposed of a cultural heritage object,” specifically, “an authentic pair of ‘ruby slippers’ worn by Judy Garland in the 1939 film.”

Prosecutors allege Saliterman knew they were stolen and claim he threatened to release a sex tape of a woman and “take her with him” if she didn’t keep her mouth shut about the sneakers.

Saliterman, of Crystal, Minnesota, appeared in court in a wheelchair and with a supplemental oxygen device to help him breathe. He refused reporters after the hearing.

However, his lawyer John Brink said: “He is not guilty. He has done nothing wrong.”

Jerry Hal Saliterman was removed from court on Friday. Photo: AP Photo/Steve Karnowski

It comes after Terry Jon Martin76-year-old, who lived about 20 miles from the museum, pleaded guilty to theft of a significant work of art in connection with the case last October.

He admitted using a hammer to break the glass of the museum’s door and display case, in what his lawyer said was an attempt to score “one last goal” after turning away from a life of crime.

Martin was sentenced in January to time served, meaning he was released and avoided more prison time due to his poor health.

During his hearing, Martin explained that he hoped to take what he thought were real rubies from the shoes and sell them, but he got rid of them when he discovered that the “jewels” were not real.

His defense attorney, Dane DeKrey, said Martin had no idea of ​​the slippers’ cultural significance and had never seen The Wizard of Oz.

Court documents do not detail any possible connection between Martin and Saliterman.

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The slippers are associated with one of the musical’s most famous lines: “There’s no place like home.”

The footwear apparently gains magical powers when Dorothy says the phrase three times and clicks her heels, helping her transport herself back to Kansas.

The shoes are one of the four remaining pairs of red slippers Garland wears in the film.

The other three pairs are held by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Smithsonian American History Museum and a private collector.

According to John Kelsh, founding director of the museum where the sneakers were stolen, they have now been returned to their original owner, memorabilia collector Michael Shaw, and will then be sold at auction.

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