Ten Daring Art Thefts of the 20th Century

John Tillman

John Tillman wikipedia.org
John Tillman wikipedia.org

Any number of art heists by John Tillman could have been featured on this list. The prolific art thief was believed to have stolen over 10,000 pieces of art from museums, galleries, archives and antique shops from all over the world. An international collaboration between the FBI, United States Department of Homeland Security, The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigated the suspected thief. In January of 2013, Tillman was arrested and in the first week alone, 3,000 works of art were uncovered from his home. Within weeks police ran out of room within their storage facilities to store all the artifacts that were found. For the next three years the investigation continued to track down all the pieces that had been stolen, sold and hidden away by the prolific art thief. He was sentenced to 9 years in prison was but released on parole after only 2 years. 2 million of his assets were also seized under the process of crime legislation.
John Tillman was born Nova Scotia and traveled to Russia in the late 1990s where he learned to speak the language. He married a Slavic woman and the pair worked together to pull off several heists. Tillman was reported to be an expert at sleight of hand and was so cocky in his thefts that some reports state he was known to have sex with his wife during them. He refused to ever reveal the names of his accomplices and many believe that they continue to avoid custody in Russia.
The treasure hoard of John Tillman is credited as being one of the biggest treasure hoards uncovered in modern history. Despite the amount of art and money recovered, some believe that John Tillman has more art and money stashed away which allows him to continue to live comfortably after his release from prison in 2015. There are even some who have linked the art thief with the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist. He currently lives on a small island on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia.