A person has been indicted on prices that he stole a pair of the famed ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in “The Wizard of Oz,” from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minn., the actress’s hometown, practically 18 years in the past.

The red-sequined pumps had been recovered in a sting operation that resulted in Minneapolis in 2018, however the authorities mentioned on the time that their investigation was persevering with and they didn’t identify any suspects.

On Tuesday, a federal indictment within the U.S. District Courtroom for the District of Minnesota charged Terry Jon Martin of Minnesota with stealing an genuine pair of the slippers, which officers estimated have a market worth of $3.5 million, from the Judy Garland Museum someday between Aug. 27 and Aug. 28 of 2005. Mr. Martin was indicted on one depend of theft of a serious art work.

The one-page indictment didn’t present any additional particulars in regards to the case. It was not instantly clear if Mr. Martin had a lawyer. Reached by telephone Wednesday at his dwelling, Mr. Martin advised The Minneapolis Star Tribune that he needed to go to trial, and added: “I don’t need to speak to you.”

Janie Heitz, govt director of the Judy Garland Museum, mentioned in an interview on Wednesday that she was researching to search out out if Mr. Martin had any connection to the museum, though she was sure that he had not been an worker.

“It’s a break within the case, which is sweet,” she mentioned. “We’re excited, speechless, anxious.”

The slippers had been stolen by somebody who had damaged in by a again entrance and smashed the plexiglass show case holding the footwear. With no fingerprints or safety digital camera footage to go by, the police had been left with few clues. The one factor left behind was a lone crimson sequin.

Federal, native and personal investigators pursued a wide range of theories over time, and finally a non-public donor provided a $1 million reward for finding the footwear, which had been amongst a number of worn by Garland in filming the 1939 film. Three different pairs utilized in filming had been identified to outlive.

A break within the search got here in 2018 when somebody approached the insurance coverage firm that owned the footwear, claiming to have details about the slippers and the way they could possibly be returned. It rapidly grew to become clear, officers mentioned, that the individual was making an attempt to extort cash from the corporate.

Investigators from the F.B.I.’s artwork crime unit, together with different federal brokers in Chicago, Atlanta and Miami, organized a sting operation to recuperate the slippers. The authorities mentioned they’d not paid any reward cash.

When the footwear had been stolen, they belonged to a collector in North Hollywood, Calif., and had been on mortgage to the museum, which opened in 1975 in the home the place Garland lived as a younger baby.

The Judy Garland Museum had put the footwear on show in 2005 throughout an annual pageant celebrating the actress. Strictly talking, they don’t seem to be a pair; the left and proper footwear are barely totally different sizes, and are thought-about to be the mates of the left and proper footwear housed on the Smithsonian’s Nationwide Museum of American Historical past.

In “The Wizard of Oz,” Ms. Garland, enjoying Dorothy, clicks the heels of the ruby slippers 3 times and utters the phrases, “There’s no place like dwelling,” magically transporting herself again dwelling to Kansas.

Ms. Heitz mentioned on Wednesday that, though the footwear had been recovered in 2018, they’d remained in federal custody, as proof within the case. She mentioned she hoped that they may someday be returned to the museum and placed on show once more. They’re extensively thought-about to be among the many most recognizable cultural objects in American movie.

“It’s simply such an iconic merchandise which means a lot to so many individuals,” Ms. Heitz mentioned, including that, to many, the slippers symbolize dwelling and a way of place. “It might be a disgrace for them to remain in a locked case for the remainder of time.”