Stolen 300-year-old family Bible found in unusual place

Filed in Gather News Channel by on February 6, 2013 0 Comments

A central Ohio man’s prized possession, a 300-year-old family Bible, in German Gothic script, with handwritten dates of births, deaths, and marriages for seven generations of his family, was located in an unlikely place after being stolen by burglars near Columbus in December 2011.

Obviously, Tim Shier was very upset to discover the safe, where the heirloom was kept, had been taken by the thieves. He was quoted by Yahoo saying, “History can never be replaced.”

Few have family treasures this old or valuable. It’s difficult to imagine how heartbreaking it would be to lose something like this.

When the four men in the burglary were arrested the “judge offered to give one of the defendants a break if he could find the Bible”. The only information the man provided was that he thought it had been dropped into some sort of bin.

Time went by, and it appeared that the antique might well be lost forever, when, just a few weeks, ago one of Shier’s cousin noticed a “reference to an old German Bible on the genealogy website ancestry.com,” reports USA Today. After she alerted Shier, he called the sheriff’s office in Union county. With the help of Goodwill it was tracked first to Louisiana and then Georgia. A hitch came when the couple who had bought the Bible refused to return it unless they were reimbursed for the $405 they had paid for it.

It’s easy to understand how the couple must have felt, being asked to give back something they had spent so much money on.

“The sheriff’s office doesn’t buy back stolen goods.” Fortunately, the Union County police union decided to cover the cost.

Detective Mike Justice, who worked on the case and is president of the Union County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 171, stresses the fact that it is a family heirloom and felt that it was important to get it back.

The Shier family subsequently donated enough money to the police union to pay them back.

It was, undoubtedly a very touching moment when the “treasured book was carried down the aisle and presented to Shier during the police lodge’s annual benefit concert at a high school auditorium” on Saturday night.

Even when steps are taken to protect such possessions like putting them in a safe as Tim Shier did, it is impossible to guarantee that they are secure. However, everything should be done to protect precious items like these, as they are worth so much more than the monetary value assigned to them.

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