Second Man Charged in Connection To Shocking Theft

( After almost 20 years since they went missing from the Judy Garland Museum in Minnesota, the case of the ruby slippers Judy Garland wore in “The Wizard of Oz” takes a new turn.

On Sunday, March 17, prosecutors unsealed an indictment charging a second man, 76-year-old Jerry Hal Saliterman of Minnesota, with theft of a valuable art piece and attempts to silence a witness in connection with the 2005 heist.

The sequined and glass-beaded slippers, considered priceless pieces of Hollywood memorabilia, were missing for years. In 2018, the FBI finally recovered them, but details surrounding the crime remained shrouded in secrecy.

The indictment accuses Saliterman of knowingly receiving, hiding, and disposing of the stolen slippers between 2005 and 2018. It further alleges he attempted to tamper with a witness by threatening to release an incriminating video if they didn’t stay silent about the slippers’ whereabouts.

Saliterman appeared in court on Friday using a wheelchair and supplemental oxygen. He pleaded not guilty through his attorney, John Brink, who declined to comment on the case’s specifics. Saliterman was released on his own recognizance.

This development follows Terry Jon Martin, 76, who pleaded guilty to theft last year. Martin, a resident near Grand Rapids, admitted to smashing the museum’s display case in a desperate attempt for “one last score” before leaving his life of crime behind. He believed the slippers were adorned with real rubies and could be sold for a significant sum. However, upon learning they were fakes, he disposed of them. Martin’s sentence reflected his poor health, which resulted in time served.

Court documents offer a glimpse into Martin’s motivation. His lawyer, Dane DeKrey, revealed that an unidentified associate with connections to organized crime convinced Martin that the supposed ruby jewels in the slippers justified their high insured value. DeKrey further stated that Martin, unfamiliar with “The Wizard of Oz,” had no understanding of the cultural significance of the slippers. However, the indictment against Saliterman doesn’t reveal a possible connection between him and Martin.

Copyright 2024,