GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. (WCCO) — Nowhere was the news of the “Wizard of Oz” slippers being recovered more welcomed than in the town from where they so suddenly disappeared.

It’s been more than 13 years since the theft left folks in Grand Rapids reeling. That’s because they claim Judy Garland, the lead actress in the 1938 classic film, as one of their own. Grand Rapids is her birthplace and the site of her museum.

On Tuesday, calls poured in to the Judy Garland Museum from around the world.

“We were in shock this morning, this is awesome news,” said museum board member Jon Miner.

The slippers were on loan to the museum in August 2005 when thieves broke in.

Through the years, leads took investigators across the country, even to the bottom of a flooded mine pit.

Even a million dollar reward didn’t lure the slippers out of hiding.

When the case finally broke, news made it to Grand Rapids quickly.

“They’re very important to our town,” said resident Becky Markwardt.

What’s still unclear is if the museum could get an original pair of the slippers back for display.

Bill Hudson


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