Terminally Ill Man Who Stole Ruby Red 'Wizard of Oz' Slippers Says He Wanted 'One Last Score'


There was truly “no place like home” for a 76-year-old terminally ill thief looking to get in one last heist before he died.

Terry Jon Martin, a former mobster, admitted to stealing the famed ruby slippers in 2005 from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. The shoes were worn by Judy Garland in the 1939 classic, “The Wizard of Oz.”

Martin ended up chucking the shoes two days later after realizing the “ruby” slippers were not actual gemstones — and thought he couldn’t make a profit. He did not know the shoes were insured for $1 million.

Related: Man Charged for Stolen ‘Wizard of Oz’ Ruby Slippers

Martin’s defense lawyer, Dane DeKrey, explained in a sentencing memo on Monday that before stealing the shoes, Martin hadn’t committed a crime in over a decade. But, he said, an unidentified former buddy needed help stealing the slippers, and Martin admitted he could not resist.

“At first, Terry declined the invitation to participate in the heist. But old habits die hard, and the thought of a ‘final score’ kept him up at night,” DeKrey wrote. “After much contemplation, Terry had a criminal relapse.”

Related: Whiskey, Rolexes, and Trading Cards Are in a Spiraling Crash as the ‘Bubbles Have Popped’ in Collectibles

Martin is currently on hospice and is expected to live another six months, leaving his legal team to plead for no prison time.

“Martin is on oxygen at all times,” the memo stated. “A medical determination was made that Martin’s illness is terminal, and his life expectancy is less than six months.”

Martin pleaded guilty to theft last October. His formal sentencing is set to take place on January 29.



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