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400-Year-Old Pilgrims Bible Stolen From The US Returns Home

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A 400-year-old Bible that was stolen from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh was found and returned to the United States recently.

The centuries-old Bible was in the possession of Jeremy Dupertuis Bangs, director of the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum in the Netherlands. Bangs said he thought he bought the book from a "reputable dealer in antiquarian books."

The Federal Bureau of Investigation Pittsburgh has returned the rare Geneva Bible to the district attorney's office on April 25.

Rare Bible

The Bible that dates back to 1615 is also known as the "Breeches Bible." Breeches refer to the printing edition in the story of Adam and Eve that refers to them as wearing breeches. The book was commonly carried by pilgrims who sailed aboard the Mayflower.

The book was sent to the United States neatly wrapped in a bubble wrap and placed inside a metal box. The pages of the Bible are colored and brittle due to its antiquity.

After confirming that the Bible was indeed stolen, authorities from the museum, the FBI in Pittsburgh and in Netherlands, and the DA's office coordinated for the return of the Bible. Pittsburgh paid $12,000 to recover the Bible from the Leiden Museum.

Book Theft At The Carnegie Library

The Bible was among the 321 rare items and books allegedly stolen from the library by former Carnegie archivist Gregory Priore, and rare books dealer John Schulman. Authorities said the Carnegie book theft that included rare books, atlases, maps, and other items, occurred over a period of over two decades. The two were charged with theft, conspiracy, and other cases.

"This Bible is more than a piece of evidence in a case. It is a priceless artifact of religious significance to people of many faiths," said Stephen Zappala, Allegheny County's District Attorney.

Since the investigation and recovery of the stolen Carnegie books were initiated, a total of 18 rare books and nearly 300 maps, plates, and pamphlets have been recovered from different locations in the United States, London, and now the Netherlands.

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