A million bucks wasn't enough to entice someone to turn in a pair of stolen ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in the movie "The Wizard of Oz."
The Aug. 27 deadline for the $1 million reward came and went without any credible leads or the return of the ruby slippers to the Grand Rapids Police Department, Investigator Andy Morgan said.
The deadline marked the 10th anniversary of the ruby slippers' theft from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids.
The police department received more than 40 tips from as far away as Arizona, the east coast and the United Kingdom, Morgan said. The tips include ruby slippers seen at garage sales, given away in radio station contests and stapled on a restaurant wall, he said.
"A wide variety of reports were made. We've run down a few of those, many of them being that of replica shoes or bright, shiny red shoes that appear to be similar to ruby red slippers," he said.
The Grand Rapids Police Department is still continuing to receive and follow up on tips, he said. The case remains open, with no indication in the past decade of who took the slippers. The statute of limitations has expired on the crime, Morgan said.
"We're still looking for any potential lead to find the whereabouts. Any additional information, please call us. We're interested in any credible, reliable information," he said.
The reward offered by an anonymous benefactor, described as an Arizona-based fan of the movie, was announced in July and the deadline was set to accelerate the process to recover of the slippers.
The reward has put the stolen slippers in the news again, and interest in the story is still there, said Rob Feeney, spokesman for the benefactor and museum.
People with information are encouraged to submit tips, even if the reward has expired, he said.
"We're hoping that by someone actually having the courage to come forward to put up such a generous reward that we're so grateful for, we're hoping that perhaps it might inspire other people to get involved in some other ways too, whether it's putting another reward up or doing something to get involved," Feeney said.
The pair was on loan to the museum for 10 weeks at the time they were stolen in the early hours of Aug. 27, 2005. The missing pair is one of four known pairs of ruby slippers worn by Garland, a Grand Rapids native, in "The Wizard of Oz."
A dive team failed to find the ruby slippers in June in the Tioga mine pit, where they were rumored to have been sunk in a Tupperware container.
"I think the search is never going to stop. We're doing everything on our end to keep it going," Feeney said.
He quoted Thomas Edison saying that you don't know how close you are to the end result until you're at the end. Now would be the "worst time to walk away" from the search, he said. Not knowing is also adding to the mystery of what happened to the ruby slippers, which in turn, fuels the public's interest in the case, he said.
"We're never going to stop looking for these things. I know the public is never going to stop having an interest in it until they're actually recovered," he said.