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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Christopher Knight: Maine's North Pond Hermit Burglary Case

     In 1986, a year after Christopher T. Knight graduated from Lawrence High School in Fairfield, Maine, he took to the woods where he lived as a hermit for 27 years. From his Kennebec County campsite in the central part of the state, the so-called North Pond Hermit managed to survive in the wilderness without hunting, fishing, or foraging for food, clothing, or shelter. He stole what he needed from camps and cottages around the town of Rome. To avoid detection, Knight never started a fire. He stole propane to cook and keep warm on stolen propane stoves.

     Christopher Knight lived in a tent covered by tarps suspended between two trees. He slept in a LL Bean sleeping bag on a raised, homemade bed. In addition to his propane heating and cooking stoves, he had a battery-operated radio with an antenna that ran up a tree. Over the years the hermit burglar had stolen shovels, rakes, Nintendo Game Boys, a battery-operated TV set, coolers, coffee pots, and all of his clothing. He didn't even buy his own toilet paper.

     On April 4, 2013, Knight stole $283 worth of food from the Pine Tree Camp for Children with Disabilities located near the village of Rome. Knight had broken into this camp fifty times. On this occasion, however, he got caught when he activated a surveillance camera sensor that had been installed by a game warden. State troopers arrested Knight later that day at his campsite.

     Charged with one count of burglary and a single count of theft, Knight is in the Kennebec County Jail under $5,000 cash bond. Police officers have dismantled and hauled-off the hermit's campsite. The job required two pickup trucks, and will probably lead to more burglary charges.

     While Knight's long suffering burglary victims should be happy he's in custody, the North Pond Hermit will probably become, in the eyes of many, some kind of folk hero. You know, a real-life Robin Hood who steals from the rich and gives to himself.

     In this unusual case, I'm having trouble figuring out how a man in the woods got away with 1,000 burglaries over a period of 27 years. One would think that hunters and game wardens had stumbled upon his campsite many times. Others must have seen him walking on roads around Rome. In the world of crime, I can't image any burglar not getting caught well before his 1000th break-in. I'm guessing that Mr. Knight's activities and location were known by a number people who chose not to turn him in.  

UPDATE

     On April 13, 2013, a man who doesn't known the hermit burglar, showed up at the Kennebec County Jail and offered to pay his $5,000 bond. (Charged with additional burglaries, the authorities have raised Knight's bail to $250,000.) A woman has called the jail with a marriage proposal. It won't be long until literary agents, movie producers, and reality TV executives arrive at the jail with proposals of their own.  

3 comments:

  1. Maybe they thought he was big foot.

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  2. AFter viewing a picture of his camp I don't see how no one ever happened upon it either but I live outside of dallas and a goat can't hide itself around here

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  3. I stumbled upon a news story about him this morning and I'm fascinated. So I was looking for more. Your blog post has some good info that's not in other news sites. Ultimately I would like to see interviews with people who knew him, who are his parents, does he have any brothers or sisters? Did anybody spot him? Also, local rumors or lore. I agree TV executives will follow.

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