Wednesday, December 11, 2013
By Keith Edwards firstname.lastname@example.org
AUGUSTA - The jeans and a brown leather belt that Christopher Knight, the so-called North Pond Hermit, was wearing when he was arrested were among the items he is alleged to have stolen as he lived alone in the woods for the last 27 years.
Those two items resulted in two additional burglary and theft charges being filed against Knight on Sunday by Maine State Police, according to an affidavit filed by Trooper Diane Perkins-Vance.
When Perkins-Vance interviewed Knight on Friday at the Kennebec County jail, he told her he was responsible for taking food, a pair of size 38 men's jeans and a brown leather belt between Sept. 30 and Oct. 8, 2012, from a seasonal residence on Maple Ridge Road in Rome.
"Knight told me he remembered this and that he was responsible," Perkins-Vance said in her affidavit, which authorities released Monday. "He believed these two items were at the jail and he had been wearing them at the time of his arrest."
After Knight was arrested April 4, he initially told police he had committed more than 1,000 burglaries, primarily at camps in the Rome area.
Knight's bail also was increased dramatically Sunday, from $5,000 to $250,000.
Perkins-Vance and District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said the bail was increased for two reasons: Knight is considered a flight risk, and they were concerned that someone who could have posted the earlier $5,000 bail amount could have taken advantage of him.
An unidentified New York man authorities described as elusive offered to post $5,000 bond for Knight on Saturday.
Maloney said the man told authorities he didn't have a plan for Knight, if he had been able to bail him out, or at least he wouldn't disclose his plan.
Perkins-Vance said Knight, whom she visited Sunday, told her he never intended to leave with the stranger who offered to bail him out. She said someone also has called the jail to try to propose marriage to Knight.
Maloney said those instances suggest that Knight, who said he had spoken to only one person in the years he lived in the woods, could be exploited.
In addition to the offers of marriage and bail, a ballad was written in Knight's honor and one person wanted to provide him housing, The Associated Press reported.
There's even a book deal in the works.
"It's clear his story has tremendous interest," Maloney told the AP. "Without an attorney, could that story be taken by someone who would then control it going forward? I think that's possible.
"There are a number of things that are possible, but if he has an attorney looking out for his interests, his story will remain his and his story will be told in a way he wants to tell it."
In her affidavit, Perkins-Vance wrote that "bail was set at $250,000 because Knight is a flight risk, there have been unknown (third) party attempts to bail him or assist in his flight and there is a major concern for Mr. Knight's safety,"
Maloney noted that the bail amount could change, once Knight has legal representation, or if a family member were to express interest in bailing him out.
"We're concerned about him, until he has an attorney, being released without someone to help him navigate this new world," Maloney said Monday. "Once his attorney is appointed, or if his family wants to speak with me, I'm more than happy to sit down and work out a plan that meets the community's needs and Mr. Knight's needs. It's not the case that once bail is set, it's set forever. Things can change."
A court hearing is scheduled for Knight on Tuesday afternoon, when setting bail will be up to a judge, Maloney said.
Maloney anticipates that an attorney will be appointed for Knight this week, perhaps by Tuesday.
Maloney said she has received calls from a number of attorneys who want to represent Knight in the case, which has drawn international attention. However, she said appointing an attorney to represent Knight is up to the court, not her.
Perkins-Vance, in her affidavit, said she questioned Knight about cases investigated by the Kennebec County Sheriff's Office, state police or the Somerset County Sheriff's Department from 2008 to 2012. She said Knight "admitted his involvement in numerous cases."
In the Maple Ridge Road theft, a kitchen window was forced open at a seasonal residence. The estimated value of the stolen items was $40, according to the affidavit.
Perkins-Vance said she photographed the belt and jeans, which she wrote were size 38, and seized those items from Knight at the jail.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Keith Edwards can be contacted at 621-5647 or at: