Man admits why he stole Judy Garland’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz

A man who admitted to stealing Judy Garland’s ruby slippers, which she famously wore during 1939’s The Wizard of Oz, has revealed why he wanted to get his hands on them.

Terry Jon Martin, a 76-year-old former mobster, smashed the iconic slippers’ display case at the Judy Garland Museum in Minnesota in August 2005.

After a 13-year investigation to track them down, the slippers were recovered by the FBI in 2018 after someone attempted to claim an insurance award on them.

Martin was indicted last May and pleaded guilty in October to using a hammer to smash his way into the museum in Garland’s hometown of Grand Rapids, and then breaking into the display case.

Ahead of his sentencing on 29 January, Martin’s defence attorney Dane DeKrey revealed that he had given into the temptation of “one last score” after one of his old mobster connections convinced him that the slippers were covered in real jewels.

The legendary slippers, which remain a pivotal part of Judy Garland’s legacy, were insured for $1 million, hence why Martin was convinced they were worth so much.

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The iconic ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz. (Getty)

However, less than 48 hours after the theft, he was told by a stolen goods handler that the rubies on the shoes were just glass, and Martin discarded them.

At the time of the 2005 theft, Martin had left his mobster ways behind and hadn’t committed a crime in a decade, DeKrey said in a memo filed ahead of his sentencing.

“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,” DeKrey wrote, according to the Associated Press.

“After much contemplation, Terry had a criminal relapse and decided to participate in the theft.”

DeKrey added that Martin was entirely unaware of how significant the ruby slippers are in the history of cinema, and that he had never seen The Wizard of Oz. A friend of Dorothy’s, Terry Jon Martin is not.

DeKrey is fighting for Martin not to be sent to prison for the crime, as he is currently living in a hospice with a life expectancy of just six months.

He is living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and requires supplemental oxygen, which his defence attorney says makes it impossible for him to be a further threat to society.