Notorious artifacts thief eligible for day parole

A first edition copy of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species was returned to the library at MSVU in Halifax on October 29, 2015. This was one of thousands of collectible items stolen by John Tillman. Grey Butler/Global News

HALIFAX – John Mark Tillman will soon be out of prison.

The Fall River man was sentenced in 2013 to seven years, 11 months in prison for stealing thousands of historical artifacts and art objects from universities, museums and historical places across the Maritimes.

Tillman was granted day parole by the National Parole Board.

He will be released as soon as Nov. 23rd to an unnamed community residential facility.

The board is imposing strict conditions on Tillman’s release, including returning to the facility nightly; disclosing financial information to his parole officer; not to be self-employed or operate a business; not to own a computer or have unsupervised access to the internet; avoiding certain persons and reporting intimate relationships.

The parole board also heard from a former neighbour of Tillman’s who requested he not be allowed to return to the area of his former home.

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Tillman’s house was the subject of a forfeiture order following his conviction.

The board restricted Tillman’s movement on day parole, and imposed the additional restriction of requiring him to report any travel outside of a specific geographical area to the authorities.

The parole board also expressed concern about Tillman’s history of alleged abusive behaviour and beliefs.

In it’s written decision, the parole board cited a former partner of Tillman’s who told police that he was a white supremacist, anti-feminist and a police hater.

The board writes that his beliefs on feminism, “appear relevant to past displays of aggression towards women and have the potential to impact your offense cycle and the potential for an emerging pattern of violence.”

Local police expressed serious concerns to the parole board about Tillman’s early release.

But the board noted that while in prison, Tillman completed programming showing, “positive change and relative stability.”  The board also noted that Tillman has developed insight into his pattern of offending.

Tillman will be eligible for full parole in May 2016.

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