A second man is charged in connection with 2005 theft of ruby slippers worn in 'The Wizard of Oz'

Second Suspect Charged in 2005 Heist of ‘Wizard of Oz’ Ruby Slippers

In St. Paul, Minnesota, a new development has emerged in the case of the stolen ruby slippers Judy Garland wore in “The Wizard of Oz.” A second individual, Jerry Hal Saliterman, 76, from Crystal, Minnesota, faces charges related to the theft of these iconic pieces of movie history. The charges against him include theft of a major artwork and witness tampering. Saliterman, who did not plead during his initial court appearance, is now part of a saga that has captivated fans and law enforcement alike.

The slippers, known for their sequins and glass beads, were taken from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, almost two decades ago. Their disappearance remained a mystery until the FBI located them in 2018. According to the indictment, Saliterman was involved in hiding and disposing of the slippers, fully aware they were stolen. He is also accused of attempting to silence a woman by threatening to expose a sex tape if she spoke about the slippers.

During his court appearance, Saliterman, who used a wheelchair and supplemental oxygen, seemed nervous but confirmed his understanding of the charges. However, he refrained from discussing the allegations. The details of the case were kept under wraps during the hearing, with the indictment only becoming public recently.

Saliterman’s lawyer, John Brink, insists on his client’s innocence, stating Saliterman has done nothing wrong. Meanwhile, Saliterman himself chose not to comment on the situation.

The narrative of the stolen slippers also involves Terry Jon Martin, 76, who admitted to the theft. Martin’s attempt to steal what he believed were valuable jewels from the slippers ended in disappointment when he learned the rubies were not real. His lawyer revealed that Martin was persuaded into committing the theft as a final act of crime, despite his efforts to leave his criminal past behind.

The ruby slippers hold a special place in cinematic history, symbolizing Dorothy’s journey home in “The Wizard of Oz.” Only four authentic pairs remain, with this particular pair having been loaned to the museum by collector Michael Shaw. The FBI’s recovery of the slippers was a significant achievement, though the bureau has not disclosed the details of their operation.

The slippers’ return to Shaw and their current holding by an auction house mark the end of a long and intriguing chapter in the story of one of Hollywood’s most cherished artifacts. Judy Garland’s legacy, both in Grand Rapids and beyond, continues to be celebrated, with the Judy Garland Museum housing an extensive collection of memorabilia from the actress’s illustrious career.