All is not well in the land of Oz. Since mid-2005, a pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland has been missing from a museum in Minnesota, and despite the fact that police are finally closing in on the thief, some in the community warn of an ominous cover-up. ABC News reports:
The lead investigator on the case, Gene Bennet of the Grand Rapids Police Department, says the theft has provoked an outcry from movie fans.
"There are people all over the country obsessed with these slippers, an underground world more than I ever imagined," said Bennet.
Bennet says Judy Garland and Wizard of Oz aficionados have been throwing leads to investigators since the theft.
"Everybody's accusing everybody of stealing them," he said.
Well, let's look at all the players involved. There's Hollywood acting coach Michael Shaw, who owned the slippers and had loaned them to the museum. When confronted with news of the theft, Shaw said: "When I heard they were stolen, it was like the earth fell from beneath my feet." Just like that time at Oil Can Harry's, right Michael?
A pop culture art appraiser, Brian Cummings (har), has called the slippers "the holy grail of movie memorabilia." He also told ABC that:
the collector community is small enough and close-knit enough that Shaw has probably crossed paths with the thief, perhaps many times.
"This is a catty group, known as the Ruby Slippers Fan Club, and one of them is probably the thief," he said.
The Case With Dorothy's Slippers: Oz Fans Obsessed With Who Stole Them [ABC News/The Blotter]