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Second man charged with theft of “Wizard of Oz” slippers

Thief charged nearly two decades after the slippers were stolen.
The ruby red slippers Judy Garland wore in the “Wizard of Oz” movie.
PC: Deborah Lee Soltesz
The ruby red slippers Judy Garland wore in the “Wizard of Oz” movie. PC: Deborah Lee Soltesz

A 76-year-old man by the name of Jerry Hal Saliterman appeared in court on March 15 for the theft of the ruby red slippers from “Wizard of Oz,” after nearly two decades of evading legal charges. 

The ruby red slippers that actress Judy Garland wore in her famed movie “Wizard of Oz,” had been stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota back in 2005. 

In October of 2023, a man named Terry Jon Martin confessed to the theft of the slippers. He admitted to using a hammer to break the glass of the museum door and of the display case where the slippers were kept. 

According to Martin’s attorney, Martin stole the slippers as a “last score” before retiring from his life of crime. Martin had spent a lot of his life as a mobster and had spent time in jail before for stealing jewels. 

A decade after he was released from prison, an old mob associate contacted Martin and informed him that the ruby slippers were worth about $1 million, which caused Martin to steal them.

Martin planned on stripping the slippers of their jewels and selling the jewels, but when he tried to do that, he discovered that the “jewels” were not jewels, but ruby-colored glass beads and sequins, practically worth nothing.

This is where Saliterman comes in. Saliterman had a long criminal history, predominantly in fraud and theft. It was suspected that Saliterman solicited Martin to steal the slippers, but it’s unclear whether authorities agree with that statement. 

Whether or not Saliterman solicited Martin to steal the slippers, Saliterman had hidden the slippers, and their whereabouts remained a mystery from 2005 until 2018, when they were recovered. 

On Friday, March 15, Saliterman appeared in court for his hearing where was charged with a felony count of theft of a major artwork, along with a count of witness tampering. Martin was charged back in January with theft of a major artwork. Despite the charges, neither Saliterman nor Martin will spend any time in jail due to their severe health issues.

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Caroline Livermore
Caroline Livermore, Staff Writer
Caroline is a freshman, and this is her first year in journalism. She likes writing about news stories best. In her free time, Caroline likes playing volleyball and hanging out with her friends.

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