Rare Book of Mormon finally returned to Mesa woman

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MESA, Ariz. -- Helen Schlie owns one of the 5,000 original printed copies of the Book of Mormon. And it wasn’t until two young missionaries came to see the book that Schlie noticed it was not there.

“When I went to get it, it was gone,” Schlie said. “And that was a real shock.”

Helen Schlie’s 1830 original copy Book of Mormon was stolen in May, recovered in June, and it wasn’t until this week that she got it back.

“Well they took a picture of me wiping my tears away because it really touches my heart,” she said.

The suspected thief is someone Schlie knew.

“It still hurts my heart because it was my publisher who had been so much help to me through the years,” Schlie said.

Jay Michael Linford, 48, was found in Virginia. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation Washington Field Office, Linford was arrested back in June for theft and trafficking in stolen property.

"He had already contracted to sell the title page and the preface to a book dealer in Dallas, Texas," Schlie said.

It was the book dealer who caught on and turned the book in.

“Reid Moon was the ancient book dealer in Dallas so he called the FBI,” she said. “And the FBI then tracked it down in Washington, D.C.”

The book was held for evidence since it was found.

Linford is set to be sentenced next month.