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Ruby slippers thief: Growing old mobster avoids jail sentence however has to pay $300 per 30 days

A dying thief who confessed to stealing a pair of ruby slippers that Judy Garland wore in “The Wizard of Oz” as a result of he needed to drag off “one final rating” was given no jail time at his sentencing listening to Monday.

Terry Jon Martin, 76, stole the slippers adorned with sequins and glass beads in 2005 from the Judy Garland Museum within the late actor’s hometown of Grand Rapids, Minnesota. He gave into temptation after an outdated affiliate with connections to the mob advised him the sneakers needed to be adorned with actual jewels to justify their $1 million insured worth, his legal professional revealed in a memo to the federal court docket forward of his sentencing in Duluth.

Martin confirmed little emotion because the choose handed down the sentence and was bodily unable to completely rise from his chair because the choose adjourned the listening to. He declined to deal with the court docket. However protection legal professional Dane DeKrey stated the decision of the case ought to carry a measure of closure to the federal government, the museum, the slippers’ proprietor and to Martin himself.

The federal government was in a position to maintain one individual accountable, DeKrey stated, whereas the museum and the collector who owns the slippers bought to search out out what occurred. And Martin was in a position to shut this chapter within the closing months of his life as an alternative of taking his secret to his grave.

“They may by no means be made complete on this case,” the legal professional stated of the victims. “However they’re extra complete than they’d been within the final 18 years.”

The FBI recovered the sneakers in 2018 when another person tried to say a reward. Martin wasn’t charged with stealing them till final 12 months. Prosecutor Matthew Greenley stated in court docket Monday that investigators used telephone data to zero in on Martin, and used his spouse’s immigration standing as leverage to go looking Martin’s dwelling and get him to admit.

He pleaded responsible in October to theft of a serious paintings, admitting to utilizing a hammer to smash the glass of the museum door and show case to take the slippers. However his motivation remained largely a thriller till DeKrey revealed it in a court docket submitting this month.

Martin, who lives close to Grand Rapids, stated on the October listening to that he hoped to take away what he thought had been actual rubies from the sneakers and promote them. However an individual who offers in stolen items, generally known as a fence, knowledgeable him the rubies weren’t actual, Martin stated. So he removed the slippers.

DeKrey wrote in his memo that Martin’s unidentified former affiliate persuaded him to steal the slippers as “one final rating,” although Martin had appeared to have “lastly put his demons to relaxation” after ending his final jail time period almost 10 years earlier.

“At first, Terry declined the invitation to take part within the heist. However outdated habits die exhausting, and the considered a ‘closing rating’ saved him up at evening,” DeKrey wrote. “After a lot contemplation, Terry had a felony relapse and determined to take part within the theft.”

Chief U.S. District Choose Patrick Schiltz accepted the advice of each side that he sentence Martin to time served as a result of he’s housebound in hospice care and is anticipated to die throughout the subsequent few months. He requires fixed oxygen remedy for power obstructive pulmonary dysfunction and needed to be introduced into the courtroom in a wheelchair. The loud hum of his oxygen machine echoed by means of the courtroom.

Schiltz advised Martin he most likely would have sentenced him to 10 years in jail if it was nonetheless 2005. The choose additionally accepted the advice from each side that Martin ought to pay $23,500 in restitution to the museum and ordered him to pay $300 a month.

“I definitely don’t wish to decrease the seriousness of Mr. Martin’s crime,” the choose stated. “Mr. Martin supposed to steal and destroy an irreplaceable a part of American tradition.”

Based on DeKrey’s memo, Martin had no thought in regards to the cultural significance of the ruby slippers and had by no means seen “The Wizard of Oz.” As an alternative, DeKrey stated, the “outdated Terry” with a lifelong historical past involving housebreaking and receiving stolen property beat out the “new Terry” who had change into “a contributing member of society” after his 1996 launch from jail.

After the fence advised Martin the rubies had been pretend, DeKrey wrote, he gave the slippers to his outdated affiliate and advised him he by no means needed to see them once more. The legal professional stated Martin by no means heard from the person once more. Martin has refused to determine anybody else who was concerned within the theft, and no person else has ever been charged within the case.

The FBI by no means disclosed precisely the way it tracked down the slippers. The bureau stated a person approached the insurer in 2017 and claimed he might assist recuperate them however demanded greater than the $200,000 reward being supplied. The slippers had been recovered throughout an FBI sting in Minneapolis the following 12 months.

Federal prosecutors have put the slippers’ market worth at about $3.5 million.

Within the traditional 1939 musical, Garland’s character, Dorothy, needed to click on the heels of her ruby slippers 3 times and repeat, “There’s no place like dwelling,” to return to Kansas from Oz. She wore a number of pairs throughout filming, however solely 4 genuine pairs are recognized to stay.

Hollywood memorabilia collector Michael Shaw had loaned one pair to the museum earlier than Martin stole them. The opposite three are held by the Academy of Movement Image Arts and Sciences, the Smithsonian Museum of American Historical past and a personal collector.

Based on John Kelsh, founding director of the Judy Garland Museum, the slippers had been returned to Shaw and are being held for safekeeping by an public sale home that plans to promote them after a promotional tour. He advised reporters he doubts they’ll ever come again to Grand Rapids.

Garland was born Frances Gumm in 1922. She lived in Grand Rapids, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) north of Minneapolis, till she was 4, when her household moved to Los Angeles. She died in 1969.

The Judy Garland Museum, positioned in the home the place she lived, says it has the world’s largest assortment of Garland and “Wizard of Oz” memorabilia. The museum’s govt director, Janie Heitz, stated in court docket that the theft value it “a major quantity of credibility” and made it tougher to borrow different objects linked with Garland and the film, in addition to hurting attendance.

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