In July 2012, an officer with the Halifax (Nova Scotia) Regional Municipality conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle in Fall River, Nova Scotia. During that stop, the officer seized a document that was later identified as an original letter written by Major General James Wolfe in 1758. The initial investigation revealed that the letter belonged to the Dalhousie University Libraries.
Members of the Halifax District Royal Canadian Mounted Police Street Crime Enforcement Unit (SCEU) executed a search warrant at a residence on Guildwood Drive in Fall River on January 18. Police arrested 51-year-old John Mark Tillman at the residence. A search of the home revealed property believed to be stolen from several universities, museums, and private collections. More than 1000 items were recovered and seized by authorities over a period of five days.
The investigation determined that many of the items are from Atlantic Canada, including Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador, with the majority from collections throughout Nova Scotia.
In March, 27 charges were filed against Tillman. He is charged with 14 counts of possession of stolen property under $5000; one count of theft under $5000; one count of possession of stolen property for the purpose of trafficking; two counts of trafficking in stolen property; one count of obstructing justice; two counts of possession of forged documents; one count of uttering forged documents; four counts of possession of stolen property over $5000; and one count of causing someone to deal with a forged document.
On March 1, authorities executed a search warrant on Yerevan Drive in Sackville, Nova Scotia, and seized sheet music authored by Henry H. Tillman. Police allege that the sheet music was stolen from Memorial University of Newfoundland. A number of books and war medals were recovered as well as a George Washington letter that was stolen from the Dalhousie University Libraries Archives.
Police arrested a 23-year-old man whose name was not released. He faces charges of obstruction of justice, perjury, and possession of stolen property. He will be appearing in Dartmouth Provincial Court on April 24.
Originally published in the May 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2013 Maine Antique Digest