Police Arrest 3 for Theft of 'Wizard of Oz' Slippers

By Nicholas Rizzi on March 26, 2014 8:33am 

 Three people were arrested for the theft of a replica pair of Ruby Red slippers from a Staten Island hotel in March, including a Washington lobbyist. The slippers were returned to the hotel with a bow missing.
Three people were arrested for the theft of a replica pair of Ruby Red slippers from a Staten Island hotel in March, including a Washington lobbyist. The slippers were returned to the hotel with a bow missing.
View Full Caption
The Nicotra Group

BLOOMFIELD — Police arrested three people accused of stealing Dorothy's ruby red slippers from a display case in a Staten Island hotel.

The three, including a former Washington DC lobbyist, took the $2,500 replica shoes from the lobby of the Hilton Garden Inn on South Avenue earlier this month, police said.

Julie Walker-Merkle, 39, and Joseph Cipoletti, 58, turned themselves in March 21, police said. Ronald Geraghty, 57, was arrested March 24.

Walker-Merkle and Cipoletti lifted the display case the slippers were in while Geraghty kept lookout on March 2, court documents said.

Walker-Merkle, a former lobbyist for American Public Power Association and congressional aide, was caught on surveillance video wearing the slippers in the hotel and later left with them on, hotel owner Richard Nicotra previously told DNAinfo New York.

Nicotra reported the theft on March 6 and, a day later, Walker-Merkle's father dropped them off inside a bag at the hotel's front desk of the hotel, the source said.

The slippers, which Judy Garland taps three times to magically return home to Kansas in the classic film, had a bow broken off during the theft, court documents said.

The owners of the hotel had picked up the shoes in Paris and they were displayed at the hotel with a sign that read: "We know there's no place like home, but at the Hilton Garden Inn we'll do our best."

Walker-Merkle and Cipoletti were charged with grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property and criminal mischief at their arraignment last week. Geraghty was charged with grand larceny at his arraignment on Monday.

Walker-Merkle and Cipoletti's lawyer did not immediately return requests for comment.

All three were released without bail and are due back in court on May 16, prosecutors said.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement