1830 Book of Mormon found; suspect jailed

June 13, 2012 at 10:13 AM
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MESA, Ariz., June 13 (UPI) -- An original Book of Mormon stolen last month from a Mesa, Ariz., bookstore has been recovered and a suspect has been arrested, police said.

The U.S. Marshal's Service and the FBI said the book was recovered Tuesday at a Washington-area apartment when they executed a search warrant, The Arizona Republic in Phoenix reported Wednesday.

Authorities arrested Jay Linford, who "is known to the victim and was present at her store during the time of the theft," Mesa Police spokesman Sgt. Tony Landato said.

"I'm just happy that a historic piece of evidence was located and brought back to its rightful owner," said David Gonzales, a U.S. marshal for Arizona.

Linford doesn't live at the apartment where the book was recovered, Gonzales said. The resident of the apartment was an associate of Linford and has not been arrested.

Landato said Linford was being held on a $40,000 cash-only bond awaiting extradition to Arizona.

The edition, stolen during Memorial Day weekend, is one of 5,000 printed in 1830 after church founder Joseph Smith found plates in New York that he transcribed into the Book of Mormon.

Bookstore owner Helen Schlie, who purchased the book in the late 1960s, allowed Mormon missionaries visiting her bookstore a block from the Arizona Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to have their pictures taken holding the edition, the Republic said. Schlie also sold pages mounted in wooden frames to Mormons who would buy their favorite passages.

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