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Rare First-Edition Book of Mormon Recovered in D.C. After Being Stolen From AZ Bookstore


"This really, really hurts my heart."

MESA, Ariz. (The Blaze/AP) -- Federal authorities have arrested a man in the theft of a rare first-edition copy of the Book of Mormon from a suburban Phoenix bookstore.

Mesa police said Tuesday that FBI and U.S. marshals searched the apartment of Jay Linford in Washington, D.C., and recovered the book that, according to experts, is valued at about $40,000. The owner, however, values the book much higher -- at $100,000.

The edition is one of 5,000 printed in 1830 and, quite obviously, a rarity.

The owner of Rare and Out of Print Books and Art in Mesa reported the book stolen on May 28 and said it wasn't insured. Helen Schlie says it's known throughout Mesa's Mormon community that her store had an original copy.

Here's an ABC News report highlighting the original theft:

Police say the store owner knows Linford and he allegedly was in the store at the time of the theft. According to Reuters, Schlie is extremely hurt by the betrayal, as she had a close relationship with the man:

Schlie told Reuters on Tuesday that Linford was a "very close friend," who in 2006 published a book of her poems and planned seven more books of her work.

"This really, really hurts my heart," said Schlie, 88, in a brief telephone interview. "He's the age of my grandchildren. This is very sad for me."

Schlie, a converted Mormon, declined any additional comment.

Police say Linford is being held on $40,000 bond pending extradition to Arizona.

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