April 12, 2013

Campsite items, theft victims reveal hermit's tastes, tactics

By AMY CALDER Morning Sentinel

(Continued from page 2)

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The North Pond Hermit’s campsite, in a remote stand of woods in Rome, was dismantled Thursday by law enforcement officials, who removed two pickup-truck loads of materials.

Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

Christopher Knight's camp was located on North Pond in Rome, not far from Route 137.

Staff graphic by Sharon Wood

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"I saw one dated back to August 1990," she said.

There was also an old TV that didn't work. It was found in the camp's trash heap, police said.

Knight had a primitive, makeshift bathroom that included logs on the ground and a wash area where laundry detergent and shampoo were placed. Police said he had nice clothes. Hughes said Knight even had a camel hair jacket.

"He had at his disposal the ability to get into a camp and take high-quality items and make them his own," he said.

ARREST MARKS END OF AN ERA

Harvey Chesley, the Pine Tree Camp's facilities manager, said he recognized stolen trash cans as belonging to the camp.

Over the years, the hermit stole many items from the camp, including all-terrain vehicle batteries, food, paper towels, toilet paper and anything battery-operated, he said.

"His favorite target was the food storage building," Chesley said. "Frozen food was a good target."

Camp maintenance director Steve Treadwell said Knight was particular and "wouldn't take the veggie lasagna."

Chelsey said the hermit would take a canoe, use it to ferry propane tanks across the lake, then return the canoe.

Jodie Mosher-Towle, who writes the North Pond Association newsletter, said the hermit has been a topic of discussion at annual association meetings for years. The association has about 125 members.

Association member Linda Rice said Knight's arrest marks the end of an era.

"It's kind of sad, in a way, but he's a human being. He has to take responsibility," she said.

Chelsey's daughter, Danielle Chesley, 21, has worked at the Pine Tree Camp all her life. She grew up hearing about the hermit. She said that when she saw photos of him after his arrest, he didn't look at all like she had envisioned him.

"I pictured him with a beard down to his belly button," she said. "He was a lot more nourished than I thought he would be." 

Kennebec Journal Staff Writer Betty Adams and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Amy Calder can be contacted at 861-9247 or at:

acalder@centralmaine.com

 

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