They weren't taken in pairs, either, so people were left with a single shoe, which of course they couldn't use- that added insult to injury. However, a forestry worker cracked the case wide open, discovering a cache of stolen footwear in a fox's den. A female fox (vixen, footwear femme fatale) had abducted the boots, sneakers, and flip-flops, but to what purpose, only the foxy footwear fiend knows...
The bushy-tailed culprit, believed to be a vixen with a family of cubs, is still at large, and locals have two explanations for her kleptomania. Either she amassed them as toys for her children, or she simply likes collecting shoes, or both.
The foxy footwear thief is still at large.