MN lawmakers want state to buy stolen 'Wizard of Oz' ruby slippers

The iconic ruby slippers used by Judy Garland during the filming of the 1939 classic film "The Wizard of Oz" were finally returned to their owner this week, nearly 20 years after being stolen. Now, a group of Minnesota lawmakers is proposing the state buy the slippers.

Under the proposal, the state would dedicate funds to the Minnesota Historical Society for the purchase of the slippers when they are auctioned off.

The slippers were stolen in 2005 from the Judy Garland Museum in the actor's hometown of Grand Rapids, Minnesota – and they weren't recovered until 2018.

This week, the slippers were finally returned to the owner, who announced they would go on a "world tour" before being auctioned off by the end of the year. The return came on the heels of a second suspect being charged in the theft last week. The other suspect, Terry Jon Martin, pleaded guilty in the case last year. He said he stole the slippers because he believed they were adorned with real jewels.

The FBI estimates the slippers are worth about $3.5 million. Legislative leaders have been hesitant to spend much money this year since it’s not a budget year. But the director of the Judy Garland Museum tells FOX 9 that "anything can happen."

The museum has also asked for money to improve security as part of the capital investment package. The same request has been rejected twice before.

If the state moves forward with the purchase, the bill would require the slippers to be put on public display – with the potential for them to be loaned back to the Garland Museum.