The iconic sequined heels - which the agency says are one of four known pairs Garland wore in the film that are still in existence - mysteriously disappeared from the Judy Garland Museum, located in the actress' childhood home in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, in August 2005.
Authorities shed little light on what happened to them at a televised news conference Tuesday, announcing only that they had recovered the famous pair.
The shoes reportedly were insured for $1 million. Leonardo DiCaprio and director Steven Spielberg privately acquired one of the pairs in 2012 for eventual display inside the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures when it opens in 2019.
A video from the FBI detailing the investigation, which was carried out with assistance from the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History, follows. Instead, they were property of a collector named Michael Shaw, who purchased them in 1970 for a mere $2,000, reports Jennifer Medina for The New York Times.
Thomas said the slippers then went unseen for 30 years until Shaw, acting as a middleman, bought them for someone who meant to sell them to the late actress Debbie Reynolds, but Shaw ended up keeping them and often loaned them for exhibits.
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We don't get paid for that. "He's the type of player that makes everybody's job easier, just because he's such a threat". We know time is of the essence. "Like you said we got close over this period of time".
They are the world's most recognizable shoes, but have somehow evaded detection for 13 years since being stolen from a Minnesota museum. "They're an enduring symbol of the power of belief", Grand Rapids Police Chief Scott Johnson told reporters. Investigators estimated that the heist took only seconds.
Authorities said they wanted to ensure they had accounted for everyone involved in the theft and the subsequent concealment of the slippers through the years.
Myers said he would handle any prosecution.
In 2015, an anonymous donor offered a $1 million reward for information leading to the recovery of the shoes. After years of searching, the slippers have been recovered following a year-long investigation.
Conservators at the Smithsonian discovered that the recovered slippers, which are almost 80 years old, were constructed the same way as the pair on display in D.C. and that the two pairs are mismatched twins that were mixed up over the years. Another pair had previously been given to a contest victor in 1940; those were sold them to a private collector in 1988. Toward the end of the movie, Glinda the Good Witch reveals to Dorothy that her magic slippers can take her back home. Shaw was eventually paid $800,000 for the shoes, but has largely left the fervor of the issue behind, stating today when asked that, "there's more to my life than a pair of pumps".