Nova Scotia

Man who printed fake RCMP decals on N.S. shooter's car sent back to prison

Peter Alan Griffon, who printed the fake RCMP decals used by the gunman during April’s mass killing in Nova Scotia, is back in prison and could be facing charges for his role in helping outfit the mock cruiser, according to Parole Board of Canada documents.

Peter Alan Griffon, 40, serving a sentence for trafficking cocaine in Alberta

On April 19, RCMP in Nova Scotia released this photo of a mock RCMP vehicle that the Nova Scotia mass shooter drove. The RCMP say it wasn't a real cruiser, but looked identical in every way, with the exception of the numbers police circled in this photo. (Nova Scotia RCMP)

The man who printed the fake RCMP decals used by the gunman during April's mass killing in Nova Scotia is back in prison and could be facing charges for his role in helping outfit the mock cruiser, according to Parole Board of Canada documents.

Peter Alan Griffon, 40, was convicted of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking in 2017, but was paroled the following year.

He was living in Portapique, N.S., and working at a sign shop in nearby Truro, N.S., in 2019 when he produced the stripes and RCMP logos that were later placed on the vehicle Gabriel Wortman used to masquerade as a Mountie.

The denturist killed 22 people and torched homes and vehicles over a 13-hour period on April 18-19. The rampage started in the small community of Portapique and ended when police shot and killed Wortman at a gas station in Enfield, N.S.

Police interviewed Griffon about the mass shootings in April and he initially told his parole officer that he didn't know anything that would be relevant to the case and denied making the decals, according to the parole board decision.

"You would later advise your parole officer that you had misled police and lied outright to your parole officer when first contacted and queried about knowledge of the shooting suspect," the decision states.

The faces of the 22 victims of the Nova Scotia mass shooting. (CBC)

After RCMP searched the sign shop where Griffon worked, investigators determined he printed the decals without his employer's permission in 2019. The parole records characterize the production of the decals as "workplace theft" and said police also found a photo of them on Griffon's phone.

The July 15 Parole Board of Canada decision, which was released this week, states that "charges are being contemplated, be they theft and or obstruction of a police investigation."

'Convinced he wasn't aware'

This appears to contradict statements RCMP have made previously about Griffon. In an interview with CBC News in June, RCMP Supt. Darren Campbell described him as "co-operative."

Campbell said investigators didn't consider the act of printing the decals themselves criminal, beyond there potentially being copyright infringement issues.

"He's obviously someone we have discussed at length and we're convinced he wasn't aware of any type of plan that the gunman had," he said in that June interview.

CBC asked the RCMP for comment, but no one from the force was immediately available to comment Friday afternoon. On Monday, spokesperson Cpl. Lisa Croteau said in a statement that no charges have been laid in relation to printing the decals. In an email, she said the investigation is still ongoing. 

Griffon linked to organized crime

On May 5, three days after RCMP searched the sign shop, Corrections Canada suspended Griffon's parole and took him back into custody. As a result, the parole board reviewed his case and took into consideration the recommendation by Griffon's case management team that his parole be revoked because they believed his actions amounted to reoffending.

In a video hearing, the parole board also considered his criminal past. He landed on police radar in Edmonton in 2014 when they were investigating the La Familia gang, which has ties to Mexican drug cartels.

Police pulled Griffon over and seized 800 grams of cocaine, multiple cellphones, a hard drive and cash. They determined he lived in a warehouse. There, they found an additional $30,000 in cash, four kilograms of cocaine, guns and ammunition.

Worked for gunman doing cash jobs

Though Griffon maintained he wasn't linked to drug cartels and had only been selling for a year to support his own addiction, the parole board said to Griffon that "the amount of drugs trafficked and the cash seized clearly suggests that you were a central player in the operation police brought down."

When he went back to Nova Scotia, which was in violation of his bail conditions, the documents from the parole board show that Griffon pleaded ignorance since he thought he was allowed to go home for Christmas — he was arrested in Nova Scotia in March 2015.

Ultimately, he was sentenced to six years and four months in 2017, but given credit for time served. 

After the mass shooting, RCMP released security camera footage captured on the morning of April 19. (RCMP)

After being granted full parole in 2018, Griffon had been living with his parents, who own a property on Faris Lane, not far from Wortman's cottage on Portapique Beach Road.

During his parole review after being taken back to prison, Griffon told board members that he did work for cash on Wortman's properties and he described his neighbour as "hobbyist."

The board ultimately concluded that Griffon's actions showed a pattern of "a lack of transparency, poor decision-making and minimization."

"The consequences of your most recent flawed decision-making contributed to a horrific end that touched every life in your province," the decision said, noting that Griffon and his family lost friends and family in the tragedy.

Griffon is continuing what's left of his sentence and was ordered to stay away from anyone involved in criminal activity, refrain from using drugs and disclose his finances to his parole supervisor after his federal sentence has finished.

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About the Author

Elizabeth McMillan is a journalist with CBC's Atlantic investigative unit. Over the past 11 years, she has reported from the edge of the Arctic Ocean to the Atlantic Coast and loves sharing people's stories. Please send tips and feedback to elizabeth.mcmillan@cbc.ca

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