CENTERVILLE Police are trying to recover an 1888 edition of the Book of Mormon that was stolen from a Deseret Industries store here.
The book was stolen from a display case at the DI store earlier this month. Police said it was donated to DI by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' library and archives department.
"The church, on occasion, distributes rare books to the DI to help with funding the store and clearing room in the archives," Centerville Police Lt. Paul Child told the Deseret Morning News on Friday.
The book was one of two 1800s-era copies of the Book of Mormon on display at the DI. They were in a secure glass box. One was purchased by an LDS Church memorabilia collector; the other vanished on Jan. 17. It wasn't reported stolen to police until Jan. 23, Child said.
"There are no signs of a break-in," he said. "The employees claim that it (the case) had been left locked."
Investigators are trying to verify if the cabinet really was locked. They also are looking at the possibility of an inside job.
"We're cooperating fully with police," said LDS Church spokesman Rob Howell.
"We're still trying to determine how the book came to be there."
The 1888 edition of the Book of Mormon is hardbound and in pristine condition. There is a stamp on the inside front cover which reads: "CHURCH LIBRARY ARCHIVES; THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTERDAY SAINTS." The category number also is printed on this stamp, and the word "WITHDRAWN" has been stamped over the writing. There is also a handwritten note on the inside cover.
Thefts of rare editions of the LDS scripture are not uncommon. In 2006, several editions of the book were stolen from the Daughters of Utah Pioneers museum.
Police have tracked down the Book of Mormon that was purchased from DI. It is now being sold on eBay. The legitimate owner of the book wrote about the find on the auction Web site, where it is fetching $350 since it was listed on Jan. 27.
"As far as provenance, it appears that the book has been owned by the LDS Church History Library since the time of its printing based upon its pristine condition," the owner wrote in his listing.
Child said they have contacted that buyer, who is helping them in their investigation into the stolen Book of Mormon. They released photos of his book on Friday in hopes of helping track down the missing one.Anyone with information is asked to call Centerville police at 801-292-8441.
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