A federal grand jury indicted a Massachusetts man Wednesday in the theft of four priceless books, including a Bible given to President John Quincy Adams by 54 African slaves whom he helped free.
"This was not simply a theft of priceless books," U.S. Attorney Donald Stern said at the Adams National Historical Site, home of Presidents John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams. "It resulted in a piece of this nation's history being ripped out of Quincy."
Kevin Gildea, 42, was charged with four counts of theft and concealment of "objects of cultural heritage." Gildea, formerly of Quincy, is serving a five-year sentence for violation of the terms of his probation on other unrelated federal charges.
One of the books recovered was the "Mendi Bible," a gift to Adams from slaves belonging to the Mendi tribe who revolted aboard the Spanish slave ship L'Amistad. The revolt was the basis for the movie "Amistad."