MILLER LAKE: A well-known international art thief from Miller Lake has died, CTV News reported last month.

John Mark Tillmann, 57, died two days before Christmas and was buried in a cemetery located at a church in Elderbank.

Tillmann, who owned a Porsche and BMW, had filled his HRM residence with historic artifacts and art stolen over decades. He stole from universities, libraries, museums, antique dealers and private collections across Atlantic Canada.

Among about 1,300 items seized by police were a spear; a gas mask; a glass lantern; a model canoe; paintings depicting centuries-old scenes; a brass telescope; and an 1819 watercolour from Nova Scotia’s legislative library.

Many of the institutions weren’t even aware the items had been stolen.

Tillmann was caught when RCMP pulled him over during a July 2012 traffic stop and found the Wolfe letter,

Tillmann died two days before Christmas in Musquodoboit Harbour, according to a certificate of death obtained by CTV, which first reported his death.

He was charged in 2009 with trying to kill his mother, and also served a two-year sentence for extorting, assaulting and threatening an ex-girlfriend. Media reports have also documented a history of racism and anti-Semitism.

In 2013, Tillmann pleaded guilty to 40 charges and was sentenced nine years in prison. He was granted parole in 2016.

At local coffee shops in Fall River, many were skeptical that he was indeed really dead in conversations about the news after the stories aired on CTV.