A few months after the package arrived in Washington, D.C., Delta employees found out they transporting the iconic red slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” that were stolen in 2005.
On July 11, Dan Wellcome, Operations Service Manager at Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport received a call from Corporate Security at the airport. He recounts the details below.
“I was told the FBI has a unique situation,” said Wellcome. “Two agents would be taking a short trip the next day from Minneapolis to Washington, D.C., and back, and carrying a large ‘high-value object’ that couldn’t go in the cargo hold or in the overhead bin. They needed to be seated in the same row, with an empty seat between them for the package. I had no idea what it was, just that the FBI needed to be in constant contact.”
Wellcome made sure the agents and the box were able to sit together and had them pre-board the flights.
Mike Robles, one of the flight attendants working the flight that day reflects.
“They pre-boarded with the package, and I offered them coffee and snacks. They told me they had been busy traveling in the last few days and were transporting a ‘high-profile package.’ It was in a box with a fragile sticker and highly guarded.”
The box, we now know, contained the slippers stolen from the Judy Garland Museum, which were recovered in a sting operation. The matching pair of slippers which was wanted for comparison’s sake resides at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History — and has been on display since 1979.
Flight Attendant Samantha Taylor states:
“We fly so many different law enforcement officers, political figures and celebrities that sometimes, I think we’re accustomed to not being surprised. But I would’ve never guessed Dorothy’s slippers were in a package safeguarded by the FBI onboard not one, but two flights I worked.”
As Dorothy says in the movie, “There’s no place like home.”
by Elizabeth Atkinson