2nd Man Charged in Theft of Judy Garland’s Ruby Slippers

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A second man has been charged in connection with the 2005 theft of a pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in “The Wizard of Oz,” according to the authorities, who said that he had threatened to a release a sex tape of a woman if she told the authorities about the theft.

The man, Jerry Hal Saliterman, 76, of Hennepin County, Minn., was charged on Friday with one count of theft of major artwork and one count of witness tampering, according to court records that were released on Sunday. He did not enter a plea when he appeared in the U.S. District Court in St. Paul on Friday.

The famed red-sequined pumps, one of several pairs that Garland wore in filming “The Wizard of Oz,” were stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minn., in 2005. The whereabouts of the slippers was a mystery for years until 2018, when the F.B.I. announced that they had been recovered.

According to the indictment, between August 2005 and July 2018, Mr. Saliterman “received, concealed, and disposed of an object of cultural heritage,” referring to the ruby slippers, which the indictment says he knew were stolen. Last year, Mr. Saliterman tried to intimidate an unidentified woman by threatening to reveal a sex tape of her to her family if “she did not keep her mouth shut” and spoke with the F.B.I. about the theft, the indictment said.

Mr. Saliterman was released on Friday on his own recognizance, according to court documents. He was photographed leaving the courthouse in a wheelchair, carrying a portable breathing machine. His next court appearance had not been scheduled as of Monday afternoon.

It was unclear whether any other arrests in connection with the theft were expected.

John Brink, a lawyer for Mr. Saliterman, said on Monday that Mr. Saliterman planned to plead not guilty when he is arraigned.

“He’s done nothing wrong,” Mr. Brink said.

Prosecutors declined to comment about the case while it is pending.

The first man charged in the case, Terry Martin, 76, of Minnesota, pleaded guilty in October 2023 to one count of theft of major artwork. He was spared time in prison and was instead sentenced in January to one year of supervised release. Mr. Martin was also ordered to pay $23,500 in restitution to the Judy Garland Museum.

Federal prosecutors and Mr. Martin’s lawyers had agreed that he should not face time in prison because he had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, requires oxygen and is in hospice care. Prosecutors said in January that Mr. Martin was not expected to live beyond the next six months.

Dane DeKrey, a lawyer for Mr. Martin, wrote in court documents that Mr. Martin had “no idea” that the ruby slippers were such well-known cultural objects in American film and that he believed the shoes had been made with “real rubies” that he could peel off and sell on the black market. Mr. Martin said that his plan had been foiled when he learned the gems were made of glass.

Mr. Martin had previous experience with stolen jewels, and he had spent time in prison for burglary, according to Mr. DeKrey. In 2005, Mr. Martin had been out of prison for 10 years when he was contacted by an “old mob associate” about “a job,” Mr. DeKrey wrote in court documents.

It was unclear whether the authorities were contending that Mr. Saliterman had solicited Mr. Martin to steal the ruby slippers. Public records show that Mr. Saliterman has a lengthy criminal history, with previous charges of fraud, theft and shoplifting.

Mr. Saliterman was sentenced to 10 years in prison in April 1988 after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the federal government and credit card fraud, The Star Tribune in Minneapolis reported at the time. Mr. Saliterman was one of two people who had been a part of “a sophisticated fencing ring that traded in expensive furs, artworks and sports cars,” the newspaper reported.


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