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Thursday
Apr112013

Legendary ‘Hermit Burglar’ Arrested in Maine Woods

Photodisc/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A Maine man who had been living as a hermit in the woods of Maine for the last 27 years has been arrested for burglary and theft. 

He is suspected of committing more than 1,000 burglaries over the last 27 years in order to sustain his solitary existence in the wilderness.

Dubbed the North Pond Hermit, Christopher Knight, 47, was arrested after breaking into the Pine Tree Camp in Rome, Maine, and attempting to take meat and other provisions back to his tent in the woods.  The camp was originally created in the 1940s as a retreat for polio patients.

Maine State Police Public Information Officer Stephen McCausland told ABC News that Knight tripped a sophisticated surveillance device provided by the U.S. Border Patrol upon entering the camp and was arrested shortly after by Maine Game Warden Sgt. Terry Hughes.

Knight vanished into the Maine wilderness at age 19, surviving all those years by stealing food, clothing, propane, tarps and other necessities. 

“Everything he owned was stolen except his eyeglasses,” said McCausland. 

Knight said that the only human contact he had in his 27 years in the woods was with a hiker in the 1990s who waved at him.

“Our kids talked about him in high school,” Ron Churchill, owner of Bear Spring Camps in nearby Oakland, told ABC News.  ”There was some hermit living over there and they were all scared about it."

Churchill also added that his camp is currently missing two propane tanks.

Knight’s campsite consisted of a tent under a tarp and not much else, relying on multiple sleeping bags to keep warm. 

“For Maine winters, that’s an incredible survival story,” McCausland said.  “He had propane heaters at the campsite but never had a campfire because he didn’t want any smoke.” 

Knight also fashioned a makeshift shower hidden behind some nearby trees and relied on battery-powered radio as his connection to the rest of the world.

According to police, Knight is cooperating fully with authorities and has expressed remorse over the alleged thefts and burglaries.  It is unclear what drove Knight to shun society and take up a hermetic existence.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio