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Oh my! A second man has been charged in ‘Wizard of Oz’ slipper heist

Oh my! A second man has been charged in ‘Wizard of Oz’ slipper heist

Wizard of Oz witch trying to steal dorothys ruby slippers
courtesy loews cineplex entertainment

The ruby footwear made famous by Judy Garland was recovered in 2018 after going missing for 13 years.

Theft, conspiracy, and witness tampering, oh my!

A second man has been charged with the theft and 13-year disappearance of a pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in TheWizard of Oz appeared in a Minnesota courtroom Friday in a case involving blackmail, sex tapes, and a retired thief out for one last big score.

Jerry Hal Saliterman, 76, of Crystal, Minn., was charged with theft of a major artwork and witness tampering for his involvement in the 2005 theft of the slippers from the Judy Garland Museum in her hometown of Grand Rapids, according to the Associated Press. On Friday, he appeared in a federal courtroom in St. Paul using a motorized wheelchair and a supplemental oxygen machine during the proceedings.

Saliterman pleaded not guilty to all charges.

“He’s not guilty,” Saliterman’s attorney, John Brink, said outside the courtroom Friday. “He hasn’t done anything wrong.”

A second man, Terry Jon Martin, 76, pleaded guilty last year to stealing the slippers from the Judy Garland Museum on August 27-28, 2005. Determined to end his 10-year retirement with one last big heist, he mistakenly believed the slippers, insured for $1 million but valued by some at $3.5 million, were adorned with actual rubies. He planned to sell the rubies individually but discarded the slippers within days of the theft after a fence informed him the shoes were adorned with relatively worthless colored glass sequins.

Martin claimed to have never seen The Wizard of Oz and said he had no idea of the shoes’ cultural significance. He pleaded guilty in October of last year and was sentenced to time served in January. He reportedly has only a few months to live.

Saliterman is accused of having possession of the slippers from August 2005 to July 2018, when they were recovered by authorities acting on a tip. The indictment says he knew the slippers were stolen when he took them from a woman, threatening to release a sex tape with the woman and “take her down with him” if she did not keep quiet about the slippers.

The stolen slippers were not the only pair worn by Garland during filming. Four of the original pairs of shoes remain. The stolen pair are known as the traveling pair.

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Donald Padgett