Man who stole Judy Garland's ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz will not face prison time

The man who stole a pair of ruby slippers has been sentenced credit:Bang Showbiz
The man who stole a pair of ruby slippers has been sentenced credit:Bang Showbiz

The man who pleaded guilty to stealing a pair of Judy Garland's ruby slippers will not face prison time.

Terry Jon Martin confessed to taking the famous shoes worn by the late screen legend when she played Dorothy in the 1939 classic 'The Wizard of Oz' from The Judy Garland Museum in 2005 and whilst on Monday (29.01.24), he was ordered to pay the Grand Rapids museum $23,000 in damages an/d was sentenced to time served and a year of probation.

According to court documents obtained by the New York Times, Martin had "no idea" that the shoes were of such high cultural value because he had never even seen 'The Wizard of Oz' to begin with and simply believed that the red high heels must have "real rubies" in them to justify their $1 million insurance value.

In court, his lawyer said that Martin, now 70, had hoped he would be able to peel the real rubies from the shoes and sell them on the black market.

Dane DeKrey, said: "His intent was singular: He believed the gemstones affixed to the slippers were real rubies, and so he hoped to steal the slippers, remove the rubies, and sell them on the black market through a jewellery-fence."

According to reports, Martin did not address the court directly during his sentencing and both sides recommended that he receive time served because he is in hospice care and not expected to live for more than six months.

In 'The Wizard of Oz', Judy Garland wore a number of pairs of the famous slippers for logistical purposes, with others currently belonging to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Smithsonian Museum of American History, and a private collector.

The pair in question were owned by Michael Shaw and were on loan to the museum dedicated to the actress when they were stolen but were returned to him in 2018 following an FBI operation.

John Kelsch, curator of the Judy Garland Museum, said: "There's some closure, and we do know definitely that Terry Jon Martin did break into our museum, but I'd like to know what happened to them after he let them go.

"Just to do it because he thought they were real rubies and to turn them over to a jewellery fence. I mean, the value is not rubies. The value is an American treasure, a national treasure. To steal them without knowing that seems ludicrous!"