Iconic 'The Wizard of Oz' ruby slippers returned after heist

In the movie, "The Wizard of Oz," Dorothy has to click her heels three times and repeat, "There is no place like home" to return to Kansas. Now after nearly 20 years, a pair of the iconic ruby slippers Judy Garland wore in the film are back where they belong.

"I just think it's a dream come true. It can happen," said John Kelsch, curator at the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids.

In a video provided by Heritage Auctions, we see the moment when cinema's most famous footwear was reunited with its owner, memorabilia collector Michael Shaw, last month.

"How do I feel? It's like welcoming back an old friend I haven't seen in years," said Shaw in the video.

The slippers that are bedazzled with sequins and beads were stolen from the museum less than three months after they were put on display, while on loan from Shaw back in 2005.

"For many years, we had lost hope that they would ever surface. It's been 18 years now, so it's just an amazing story," said Kelsch. 

Terry Martin told a court in October he hoped to take what he thought were real rubies from the shoes and sell them. But he got rid of the slippers after he learned there were no jewels on them. Prosecutors say Jerry Saliterman knew the slippers were stolen and threatened to release a sex tape of a woman and take her down with him if she didn't stay quiet about the crime.

"It was unusual, the set of circumstances that contributed to the theft," said Kelsch.

The slippers' whereabouts remained a mystery until 2018, when the FBI recovered them after a sting operation. Now officials at the Judy Garland Museum say the story of the ruby slippers is destined to become a movie all its own.

"It'll probably be a comedy of errors type movie. We'll see," said Kelsch.

The ruby slippers will now go on a world tour before being auctioned off by the end of the year.

The Judy Garland Museum hopes to put in a serious bid to bring them back to Grand Rapids, Garland's birthplace.