A reformed mobster who confessed to stealing a pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in 'The Wizard of Oz' couldn't resist "one final score".
Terry Jon Martin is due to be sentenced for the 2005 theft from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids on 29 January,and his defence attorney has now explained the reasons behind the terminally-ill man's actions.
A memo written by Dane DeKrey explained an unidentified former mob associate led Martin - who hadn't committed a crime in nearly 10 years after his last prison stint - to believe the iconic footwear must have had real rubies embedded inside to justify their $1 million insurance value.
He wrote: “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.
"After much contemplation, Terry had a criminal relapse and decided to participate in the theft.”
Martin is currently receiving hospice care with a life expectancy of less than six months, and both his team and prosecutors have recommended the judge sentence him to time served because he is physically incapable of preventing a threat to society as he needs oxygen at all times because of his chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder
In 'The Wizard of Oz', Judy Garland wore a number of pairs of the famous red high heels for logistical purposes, with others currently belonging to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Smithsonian Museum of American History, and a private collector.
The pair in question were owned by Michael Shaw and were on loan to the museum dedicated to the actress when they were stolen but were returned to him in 2018 following an FBI operation.
John Kelsch, curator of the Judy Garland Museum, said: "There's some closure, and we do know definitely that Terry Jon Martin did break into our museum, but I'd like to know what happened to them after he let them go.
"Just to do it because he thought they were real rubies and to turn them over to a jewellery fence. I mean, the value is not rubies. The value is an American treasure, a national treasure. To steal them without knowing that seems ludicrous!"