Terry Martin of Grand Rapids has changed his plea to guilty in the case regarding the theft of the iconic pair of ruby slippers from the classic 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz.”
Martin, 76, appeared in a Duluth federal courtroom on Friday on one count of major artwork theft. He is accused of stealing the shoes from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids in 2005, CBS News reported.
He previously pleaded not guilty in June, and his trial has been delayed.
In court Friday, Martin admitted he used a small sledgehammer to break into the museum and then used the tool to crack the case where the slippers were in and take them.
He testified that he didn’t hear an alarm and left the museum in his car. He has kept the slippers in a trailer adjacent to his home.
In 2005, he took the stolen goods to a “jewelry fence,” a criminal who buys and resells stolen goods. The fence then told him that the jewels were actually made of glass, and not real rubies.
Martin said at some point, he gave the shoes to someone else, and it’s not clear if it was the fence or someone else. He says he had no contact with them after that.
Martin is being represented by a public defender and was released before the trial with conditions. Both sides agreed to a sentence of time served given Martin’s in hospice for advanced COPD.
The judge will decide at sentencing if he will go along with the plea agreement or give another sentence, which could happen in the next few months.
We’re in Duluth, where the man charged with stealing the ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz is expected to change his plea this morning. Here’s Terry Martin heading into federal court #rubyslippers #wcco pic.twitter.com/OFb3qAVq0r
— Jennifer Mayerle (@jennifermayerle) October 13, 2023