WASHINGTON—The FBI today announced the recovery of a rare first edition of the Book of Mormon believed to be stolen from a downtown Mesa, Arizona bookstore over Memorial Day weekend.
The FBI assisted in the recovery of the Book of Mormon at the request of the Mesa Police Department through the FBI’s Art Theft Program.
Jay Michael Linford, 48, of Gilbert, Arizona, was located and arrested on June 12, 2012 at the apartment of an acquaintance in Herndon, Virginia where he was staying as a guest. A search warrant of this location recovered the stolen book, pictured below:
Linford is currently in custody and awaiting extradition to Arizona, where he faces charges of theft and trafficking in stolen property.
In addition to the Mesa Police Department, this investigation was conducted in partnership with the Herndon, Virginia Police Department; U.S. Marshals Service; U.S. Customs and Border Patrol; and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.
The FBI’s Art Crime Team, formed in 2004 and coordinated through the Art Theft Program, is a rapid deployment team consisting of 14 FBI special agents assigned to various field offices throughout the United States, to include the Washington Field Office. To date, the Art Crime Team has recovered more than 2,650 items valued at over $150 million.