April 11, 2013

Neighbor: Family believed 'North Pond Hermit' had run off to New York

By Betty Adams badams@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 2)

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Robert Milliken talks about former neighbor Christopher Knight on Wednesday during an interview at Milliken's Albion farm.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

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Staff photo by Andy Molloy Game Wardens, State Police and Somerset County Sheriff's deputies hike into Christopher Knight's camp site in Rome Tuesday April 9, 2013. Police believe Knight, who went into the woods near Belgrade in 1986, was a hermit who committed hundreds of burglaries to sustain himself. The camp was located in a heavily wooded location.

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AUDIO: Hermit news conference
Audio from Hermit news conference at Dept. of Public of Safety in Augusta on April 10, 2013.
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Police detain hermit who lived in Maine woods for 27 years without human contact.

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  Maine Warden Service Sgt. Terry Hughes discusses encountering Christopher Knight, the alleged North Pond Hermit, at the Pine Tree Camp on Thursday.

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Maine Warden Service Sgt. Terry Hughes and Maine State Police Trooper Diane Perkins-Vance discuss Christopher Knight's habits and life in the woods of Rome.

 

 

The trail got hotter this spring, when Pine Tree Camp employees realized that the burglar was targeting their new $1.8 million dining facility. More sophisticated surveillance equipment was brought in, and law enforcement redoubled the effort.

The camp, operated by the Pine Tree Society, hosts programs for children and adults with disabilities, serving about 700 people.

Knight said he had burglarized the camp at least 50 times over the years, including twice this year, Perkins-Vance said.

"He was breaking devices, breaking windows and doing damage," said Harvey Chesley, the camp's facilities manager, who also spoke at Wednesday's news conference.

Chesley said that when he got a call at 1:15 a.m. on April 4 about a burglary suspect having been found leaving the dining hall, "I got down to camp as quick as I could."

He said he was "aggravated and frustrated" by the repeated burglaries and damage. "This situation is something that had been bugging us for years," he said.

Chesley said the burglar took several hundred dollars' worth of goods each time. "He didn't come and get a bag of marshmallows," Chesley said.

He said Knight apologized to him after the arrest.

Willard-Robinson, the camp director, said the burglaries didn't generate fear, but created an inconvenience because "you couldn't leave anything in camp."

At Wednesday's news conference, she pointed to a flashlight, a radio and hand tools that were seized from Knight. "A lot of stuff on the table was ours. We wished he would leave us a list of what he needed," she said.

Knight remains in jail on $5,000 cash bail, charged with a felony burglary and a misdemeanor theft, both at the Pine Tree Camp.

Neither Perkins-Vance nor Hughes named other locations that Knight might have burglarized, saying only that the case remains under investigation.

Hughes said he was glad to be a part of the collaborative investigation.

"I'm glad to solve the mystery," he said

Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

badams@centralmaine.com

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Additional Photos

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Warden Service Sgt. Terry Hughes, left, and State Police Trooper Diane Perkins-Vance talk about capturing Christopher Knight -- known as the "North Pond Hermit — during a news conference on Wednesday in Augusta.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

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Warden Service Sgt. Terry Hughes, left, and State Police Trooper Diane Perkins-Vance talk about capturing Christopher Knight during a news conference on Wednesdayin Augusta.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

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Christopher T. Knight

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Staff photo by Andy Molloy District Game Warden Aaron Cross inspects Christopher Knight's camp Tuesday April 9, 2013 in a remote, wooded section of Rome. Police believe Knight, who went into the woods near Belgrade in 1986, was a hermit who committed hundreds of burglaries to sustain himself.

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Staff photo by Andy Molloy Somerset County Sheriff's Office Cpl. Gene Cole, left, helps Maine State Police Trooper Diane Vance inventory money recovered from Christopher Knight Tuesday April 9, 2013 at the Pine Tree Camp in Rome. Knight, a hermit who lived in the woods since April 1986, was apprehended when he broke into the camp, police claim. He was captured carrying a knapsack and bag of tools. Many of bills date from the 1980s and 1990s, Vance said, and were never circulated by Knight.

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Staff photo by Andy Molloy Tools recovered in a bag that Christopher Knight was carrying when he was apprehended at Pine Tree Camp in Rome Tuesday April 9, 2013. Knight, a hermit who lived in the woods since April 1986, apparently utilized the tools to break into several dozen camps in the Belgrade area, according to police.

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Staff photo by Andy Molloy Pine Tree Camp facility manager Harvey Chesley inspects a door that Christopher Knight alleged broke open in the dining lodge at the Rome camp Tuesday April 9, 2013. Knight, a hermit who lived in the woods since April 1986, was arrested in after breaking into the lodge on April 4, according to Warden Service Sgt. Terry Hughes.

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Staff photo by Andy Molloy Christopher Knight was apprehended at Pine Tree Camp in Rome carrying candy, potato chips, ball cap, poncho and a wrist watch that were all stolen from the camp, according to police. On Tuesday April 9, 2013 police inventoried the items that Knight, a hermit who lived in the woods since April 1986, was carrying when he was arrested on April 4.

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Staff photo by Andy Molloy Game Wardens and State Police get global positioning coordinates before hiking into Christopher Knight's camp in Rome Tuesday April 9, 2013. Police believe Knight, who went into the woods near Belgrade in 1986, was a hermit who committed hundreds of burglaries to sustain himself. His camp is located in a heavily wooded location.

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Staff photo by Andy Molloy Christopher Knight's camp site located in a remote stand of woods in Rome moments before Game Wardens, State Police and Somerset County Sheriff's deputies inspected the camp Tuesday April 9, 2013. Police believe Knight, who went into the woods near Belgrade in 1986, was a hermit who committed hundreds of burglaries to sustain himself.

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Staff photo by Andy Molloy Game Warden Aaron Cross photographs Christopher Knight's camp Tuesday April 9, 2013 located in a remote wooded section of Rome. Police believe Knight, who went into the woods near Belgrade in 1986, was a hermit who committed hundreds of burglaries to sustain himself.

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Staff photo by Andy Molloy Game Warden Sgt. Terry Hughes, right, Maine State Police Trooper Diane Vance, center, and Somerset County Deputy Jeremy Leal Tuesday April 9, 2013 inspect Christopher Knight's camp in a remote, wooded section of Rome. Police believe Knight, who went into the woods near Belgrade in 1986, was a hermit who committed hundreds of burglaries to sustain himself.

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Staff photo by Andy Molloy Game Warden Sgt. Terry Hughes, right and District Warden Dave Ross inspect Christopher Knight's camp Tuesday April 9, 2013 in a remote, wooded section of Rome. Police believe Knight, who went into the woods near Belgrade in 1986, was a hermit who committed hundreds of burglaries to sustain himself.

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Staff photo by Andy Molloy Christopher Knight's camp on Tuesday April 9, 2013 in a remote, wooded section of Rome. Police believe Knight, who went into the woods near Belgrade in 1986, was a hermit who committed hundreds of burglaries to sustain himself. Knight kept camping supplies and a tent beneath a brown tarp where he lived, police say.

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Staff photo by Andy Molloy A television found at Christopher Knight's camp on Tuesday April 9, 2013 in a remote, wooded section of Rome. Police believe Knight, who went into the woods near Belgrade in 1986, was a hermit who committed hundreds of burglaries to sustain himself.

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Staff photo by Andy Molloy Christopher Knight's camp Tuesday April 9, 2013 in a remote, wooded section of Rome. Police believe Knight, who went into the woods near Belgrade in 1986, was a hermit who committed hundreds of burglaries to sustain himself.

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Staff photo by Andy Molloy District Game Warden Aaron Cross exits Christopher Knight's camp Tuesday April 9, 2013 in a remote, wooded section of Rome after police inspected the site where Knight is believed to have lived since the 1990s. Police believe Knight, who went into the woods near Belgrade in 1986, was a hermit who committed hundreds of burglaries to sustain himself.

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Staff photo by Andy Molloy Coffee cups, lights and a clock hang under a tarp in Christopher Knight's camp Tuesday April 9, 2013 in a remote, wooded section of Rome after police inspected the site where Knight is believed to have lived since the 1990s. Police believe Knight, who went into the woods near Belgrade in 1986, was a hermit who committed hundreds of burglaries to sustain himself. Knight apparently cooked meals with propane he stole, police claim.



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