MARYSVILLE, Ohio — A central Ohio man’s heart sank when he realized that burglars had broken in and stolen a safe holding his most prized possession: a 300-year-old family Bible.
The Bible, written in German Gothic script and containing the handwritten dates of births, deaths, and marriages for seven generations of Tim Shier’s family, disappeared in the burglary in Marysville, in December 2011.
But thanks to a bit of luck, a sharp-eyed family member, local deputies, and Goodwill Industries — which had ended up with the Bible and then sold it online — the heirloom is back in Shier’s hands.
He called it an answer to his prayers. ‘‘Our family can’t put a price on that Bible,’’ Shier told the Columbus Dispatch. ‘‘History can never be replaced.’’
The effort started with the arrest of four men in the burglary. A judge offered to give one of the defendants a break if he could find the Bible. But the man came up empty, saying that he thought it had been dropped in some kind of bin.
A few weeks ago, one of Shier’s cousins saw a reference to an old German Bible on the genealogy website ancestry.com. She called Shier, who called the sheriff’s office in Union County where he lives.
Sheriff’s detectives enlisted the help of Goodwill and tracked it to Georgia. But the couple who had bought it would not send it back without recouping the $405 they had paid for it. The Union County police union stepped up and covered the cost.