Dying thief gets no prison time for stealing “Wizard of Oz” ruby slippers from Judy Garland museum

A dying thief who confessed to stealing the iconic ruby slippers that Judy Garland‘s Dorothy wore in “The Wizard of Oz” will not serve prison time for the offense. 

During a sentencing hearing on Monday, Tom Jon Martin’s attorney said that the resolution of the ongoing mystery surrounding the $3.5 million stolen shoes should bring closure to the Judy Garland Museum, the government and Martin himself, The Associated Press reported.

The 76-year-old reformed mobster stole the sequined ruby slippers in 2005 from the Judy Garland Museum, which is located in Garland’s hometown of Grand Rapids, Minnesota. His attorney revealed that Martin was convinced to pull off the heist when an old associate with connections to the mob told him that the shoes had real jewels, amounting to their $1 million insured value. Martin said he was persuaded to pull off “one last score” even though he had finally put that life behind him after finishing his last prison sentence.

Ultimately, his goal was to remove the jewels from the shoes and sell them . . . but he was informed that the rubies weren’t real. So Martin got rid of the slippers two days after he had stolen them. In 2018, the FBI recovered the shoes when someone tried to claim a reward for them. Last year, Martin was charged with stealing the slippers. He pled guilty to the charges in October but since he is housebound in hospice care and expected to die within months — federal prosecutors agreed to nix his sentence.

The shoes, which are actually three separate pairs, are currently held by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Smithsonian Museum of American History and a private collector.


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