Mobster Admits to Stealing Slippers From Wizard of Oz

A reformed gangster, who is now in his twilight years, caved to the pressure of one last criminal act after an old associate convinced him that the famous ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz had to be embellished with genuine jewels to prove their insured value of $1 million.

At the site of the crime, no fingerprints were found. The whole heist likely took little more than a couple of minutes, according to Grand Rapids Police Department officer Gene Bennett.

In a new brief submitted before Terry Jon Martin’s sentencing on January 29 in Duluth, Minnesota, the defense counsel finally explained the 76-year-old’s motivation for stealing the items at the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, the late actor’s birthplace, in 2005.

Although the FBI recouped the shoes in 2018 during an attempt to collect an insurance payout, Martin was not indicted for their theft until last year.

October 2023 saw Martin’s guilty plea for smashing the museum display case and door glass with a hammer to steal the shoes. He was hoping to sell the shoes as a source of genuine rubies. According to a “Fence” specializing in stolen items, the rubies were really glass. Martin reportedly sold the shoes just two days later.

Even though Martin hadn’t broken the law in almost a decade following his previous incarceration, defense attorney Dane DeKrey claimed in a document that an unnamed old mafia partner enticed him to take the shoes.

Terry originally turned down the offer to help pull out the robbery. DeKrey wrote that the idea of a “final score” proved that old habits do indeed die hard. Terry relapsed into illegal behavior and chose to take part in the heist after considerable thought.

Due to his physical incapacity, DeKrey and the prosecution are urging the court to impose a time-served sentence on Martin. Martin has a prognosis of fewer than six months and is now receiving hospice care.

He was accompanied by a wheelchair for his most recent court appearance due to his chronic obstructive pulmonary condition, which requires him to have oxygen on hand at all times. His condition may qualify him for a compassionate release, even if he were to get a jail term.

The Judy Garland Museum has the biggest collection of Wizard of Oz and Garland artifacts in the world, housed in the home where she resided.