When burglars broke into Tim Shier’s Marysville, Ohio home, they carted off a safe containing his most prized possession: a 300-year-old family Bible.
Heartbroken, Mr. Shier had written the Bible off as lost, but an immense team effort involving family members, local deputies, and Goodwill has now seen Tim reunited with his priceless heirloom.
The rare Lutheran Bible, written in ornate German Gothic script, contained handwritten dates of birth, deaths, and marriages for seven generations of Tim’s family. An ecstatic Mr. Shier told The Columbus Dispatch:
“Our family can’t put a price on that Bible. History can never be replaced.”
The effort to recover the Bible began with the arrest of four men in connection with the burglary. One of the defendants was offered a lighter sentence if he could find the Bible,but was unable to help, saying the book had been discarded in some kind of bin.
Shortly before Christmas 2012, a cousin of Shier saw a user on ancestry.com mention an old German Bible. After Shier learned of this, he contacted his local sheriff’s office in Union County.
From there, detectives got in touch with Goodwill, which had already sold the Bible online. The book was tracked down to Louisiana and then Georgia, but the buyer of the 300-year-old Bible was keen to recoup the $405 they had been charged for the book.
With the sheriff’s office unable to buy back stolen goods, the Union County police union decided to cover the cost. Detective Mike Justice, president of the Union County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 171, told the Associated Press:
“This was no stolen television. It’s a family heirloom, and we believed it was important to get it back.”
Mr. Shier was presented with his beloved heirloom on Saturday night at the police lodge’s annual benefit concert at a high school auditorium. Now that’s a team effort!