First-Edition Book of Mormon Recovered With Help From Eight Law Enforcement Agencies

The theft of a first-edition Book of Mormon, we have discovered, is some serious shit.

At least, it was to the eight law enforcement agencies investigating the matter.

Jay Linford's been pegged by Mesa police as the guy who lifted the 182-year-old Book of Mormon from the Rare and Out of Print Books and Art store, and he was arrested in an apartment near Washington, D.C., Tuesday after the Marshals Service and FBI served search warrants.

Mesa police have now provided some details about what happened after Linford lifted the book.

On May 28 -- the day the book was stolen -- Linford called a rare book dealer in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area, seeing if anyone was interested in purchasing some pages from the first-edition book, which is worth between $30,000 and $40,000 as a whole.

Linford ended up selling two pages to the guy for $7,500, later finding out that someone in Mesa had just had theirs stolen, and phoned up the cops.

Linford was eventually found staying with a pal at an apartment in Herndon, Virginia, near Washington, D.C., where the book was also recovered

A Mesa police spokesman says it doesn't look like Linford's pal is involved in the crime.

It took the following agencies to track down this old book: the Mesa Police Department, the FBI Art Crime Team, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, the Herndon Police Department, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, the Fairfax County Sheriff's Office, and the Prince William County Police Department.

Linford's still hanging out in jail in Virginia, and there's still no mugshot available.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley