Sunday, April 19, 2015

John Mark Tillman - Canada’s infamous antique thief

John Mark Tillman (Tillmann) is the Halifax-area man who pleaded guilty in late 2013 to 40 charges, including theft, fraud and possession. He was sentenced to nine years for his crimes. This ended a case in which police seized 1,600 artifacts that came from museums, galleries, universities and antique stores across Atlantic Canada.

Tillman agreed to forfeit everything — his mortgage free lake-front property valued at $700,000, a seized a bank account containing more than $338,000, and everything he stole over a lengthy criminal career.
The case kicked off with a routine traffic stop in July 2012. An officer spotted a historic letter from British Gen. James Wolfe and a cheque for $1,500 in Tillman's BMW. Police traced the letter to Dalhousie University.

In early January 2013 authorities tracked down a copy of Darwin’s "On the Origin of Species", which had changed hands several times since being sold at a Sotheby’s auction by a Canadian who bought it from Tillmann.
Police seized a number of books and war medals, including a letter written by George Washington which was stolen from the Dalhousie University Library Archives.

Washington wrote the letter in 1775 after his appointment as head of the Continental Army.
To steal a painting that hung in Nova Scotia’s legislative library, Tillmann says he and an accomplice dressed up as maintenance workers carrying tools. They simply grabbed the painting right off the wall. “They didn’t notice it right away because they didn’t think we were doing anything wrong,”