Dying thief stole Wizard of Oz ruby slippers as ‘one last score’

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A pair of ruby slippers up for auction in 2011
Image caption,Multiple pairs of ruby slippers were made for the film, including these ones displayed in Beverly Hills in 2011

By Max Matza

BBC News

Lawyers for the man who admitted to stealing ruby slippers worn in The Wizard of Oz have finally revealed his motive in a sentencing memo.

Terry Jon Martin, 76, had given up his life of crime but wanted to make “one last score”, according to the memo.

An old mob associate convinced him to carry out the smash-and-grab heist in 2005.

He was caught more than a decade later when an FBI art crime team recovered the slippers in a sting operation.

Martin’s defence lawyer Dane DeKrey wrote in the sentencing memo last week that his client had not committed any crimes in nearly ten years after last being released from prison.

But an unidentified former mob associate made contact with him and tempted him to grab the slippers, which were on loan to the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. The late actress played the slippers-wearing Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

“At first, Terry declined the invitation to participate in the heist. But old habits die hard, and the thought of a ‘final score’ kept him up at night,” Mr DeKrey wrote.

“After much contemplation, Terry had a criminal relapse.”

He added that Martin had never seen the movie and was completely unaware of the cultural significance of the sequin-encrusted heels.

Martin, from the nearby city of Duluth, took a sledgehammer to the museum’s emergency exit and lifted the shoes- which were insured at $1m (£824,000) – from a plexiglass-encased display pedestal, believing they were bedecked with real gemstones.

He dumped them two days later after trying to sell them and discovering that the ruby accents were actually made of glass, according to his lawyer.

The memo asked the judge to keep him out of prison and sentence him to time served due to his poor health.

Martin is currently in hospice care with a life expectancy of six months, and uses oxygen and a wheelchair, according to his lawyers.

The shoes are among only four authentic pairs that remain from the 1939 film and are often considered among the highest valued props in movie history.

Lead character Dorothy puts them on early in the film, after she lands in the Land of Oz, and uses them to return home to Kansas at the end by clicking her heels https://sebelumnyaada.com/ three times while repeating “there’s no place like home”.

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