Police arrest man suspected of stealing Book of Mormon

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

MESA, Ariz. -- Authorities have arrested the man suspected of stealing a first edition copy of the Book of Mormon from a Mesa bookstore.

Jay Michael Linford, 48, was arrested Tuesday in Herndon, Virginia for theft and trafficking in stolen property.

Linford is currently being held at a detention facility in Fairfax, Virginia awaiting extradition.

On May 28, Helen Schlie reported that the book had been stolen from her store, Rare and Out of Print Books and Art.

That same day, Linford contacted a rare book dealer in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to see if he would be interested in buying some pages of a first edition Book of Mormon.

A couple of days later, Linford sold two pages of the book to the dealer for $7,500. The dealer later learned of the theft at Schlie’s bookstore and called Mesa Police.

Linford was subsequently located at the apartment of an acquaintance in Herndon. The book, which is said to be worth about $40,000, was also found at the apartment. Police said it does not appear as if Linford’s acquaintance had a role in the crime.