"North Pond Hermit" suspected of 1,000 burglaries in 27 years

NewImageChristopher Knight, aka the "North Pond Hermit," has been living in the woods of Rome, Maine for nearly three decades. Last week though, a Maine Warden Service sergeant reportedly caught Knight burglarizing a campsite. According to police this was only the latest in more than 1,000 burglaries Knight is suspected of committing over the years. The Maine State Police told CNN "that the arresting warden was the second person Knight had been in contact with in 27 years."


  1. Certainly presents a different light on a lot of survivalist fantasies. You have the people whose idea of living “off the grid” involves steady infusions of materiel from online catalogs, and  then you have these types, who are reduced to stealing at regular intervals. Really, if you were’re raised by traditionalist indigenous people native to a particular region, your chances of living off the land there are next to nil;. 

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    1. I wonder what kind of infections you would get living in the woods for 27 years. Does he have lime disease, worms, something else? He looks like he’s getting a little old to handle that stuff in stride.

  2. This information is very incomplete. “The arresting warden was the second person Knight had been in contact with in 27 years”. Whose account is this: the warden’s ? Knight’s ?

     He was captured on surveillance equipment doing one B & E for food – what is the link to the other 999 crimes ? Did he live adjacent to the campground ? 

    I remember when I used to go camping with my parents when I was a kid – it was well known that anything left visibly laying around a campsite or in a tent was probably going to get stolen so it got locked in the trunk of the car/van out of sight – and this was nowhere near this alleged crime central campground.

    Very shoddy reporting CNN.

    1. That’s funny, when I used to go camping with my parents, it was taken for granted that NOTHING gets stolen from campsites! We drove across the US and Canada over the course of 3 months in 1996 in a pop-up tent trailer. All our worldly possessions were contained in said trailer, which we “locked” by undoing some of the velcro siding, reaching in and locking the door from the inside, and then doing the velcro back up. Of course there’s a good chance we were just very lucky fools!

      1.  i’ve been car camping, boat camping, bike camping, and backpacking for 25+ years at least 5 times a year, and in the past 5 years more like 25+ nights a year.  the only things getting stolen, thankfully, is food, by bears and chipmunks.

        there are notorious areas near the AT that include thefts and harassment of hikers, but it seems this is mostly due to locals not liking outsiders and a federally mandated corridor through “their” lands.

      2. I mean, you gotta hang your clothes to dry, right?

        I guess that you’ve never met Marla Singer.

    2. the “camp” referred to in this article is a “sleep-away” summer camp for disabled people, in the same town (rome,) which is very heavily wooded and rural.  the only tent-style campsite in this story is that of the suspect, which is not mentioned in the article.  mainers also refer to rustic cabins and summer cottages as “camps,” and the article clearly states that the suspect was breaking and entering into private camps and summer-camp facilities, meaning nobody was just leaving things around.  the article also states that this has been going on since at least the 1980s and has taken place at many different locations, thus accounting for the estimate of “1,000 burglaries.”

  3. Crap. The State of Maine should cut tis guy a check for all of the food and any other items he may have stolen over the years to repay any and all in his debt for not having tapped into welfare all these years and staying for the most part out of everyone’s hair. 

    Gold necklaces, diamond rings, super hot Ferraris yeah arrest him and send him to jail but food? Just glad now that I can say that I am not from Maine.

    1. I am curious – where are you from?  Do they usually give burglars a pat on the back based on what they stole?  “Hey, thanks for not being on welfare.” 

      1.  i’m curious where he got caught.  if it’s not inside someone’s home, he’ll get a slap on the wrist.  although he’s already been arraigned, so it must have been felony B&E

        1.  They set up a game cameras and got pictures of him braking into a camp’s buildings, and they caught him red handed in one of them.

    2. You have sympathy for him because he’s stealing food, but if he stole your food for 27 years, you would feel differently.

    3.  So stealing what you need rather than asking for it or even…gasp…working for it is OK by you?

      Have you run this by the people who actually produce food and such by the sweat of their brow and the effort of their arms to see how they feel about it?  And those who worked long and hard to buy it for their own family?

      Give everything you have away first, before you start “donating” things other people have worked for and enjoy or treasure, it is not yours to decide for them.

  4. “It’s surreal, he’s surreal, the situation is surreal,” said Maine State Trooper Diane Perkins-Vance at the news conference.

    Dispatch to all units, be advised, situation is triply surreal, over.

  5. The Kennebec Journal has a much more thorough account of this story, it’s kind of a big deal in Maine: http://www.kjonline.com/news/North-Pond-Hermit-suspect-in-more-than-1000-burglaries-captured.html?pagenum=1

    My favorite bits: 

    The arresting warden only really went after him because Knight struck on his birthday and he had to go investigate. 

    They can verify most of his story because they found him with a bunch of cash, all dated to the early 80s when he claims to have left society.

    He’s mastered camouflage of his camp so well that they suspected he was military-trained (he’s not), and he hasn’t had a fire in camp the whole time he’s been gone.

    It’s really just one of those incredible tales come true.

  6. “He made one fatal mistake,” Hughes said. “He hit this year on my birthday.”

    My view would be that his main mistake was confessing to the police (or game warden, or whatever). This move has managed to increase his potential criminal liability substantially, and further has gained him nothing in return.

    Also, the warden’s statements (“I would say it is well over 1,000”) in response to the defendant’s statements that he had committed maybe 40 burglaries remind me of that Simpson’s episode where the cops arrest the baseball player driving through town, and end up pinning every unsolved murder in the history of Springfield on him.

    I certainly respect the warden’s view on this, but nonetheless I am glad he is not the final arbiter of the defendant’s guilt.

    1. he had committed maybe 40 burglaries

      According to the article

      Knight has admitted to committing about 40 burglaries a year for the past 27 years, according to Perkins-Vance.

      So 40*27= 1080.  Whether what the cop said that Knight admitted to is true is yet to be corroborated, but there it is for what it’s worth

      1.  oops, you are right, that is what I get for skimming, my apologies, apparently I am still learning how to read…

      1. Hi, thanks for your thoughts. I am happy to try and clear up the point of my previous post, which I admit, could have been clearer.
        I kept it sort of brief, because talking about this stuff in any internet forum gets a bit complicated. Below I’ve tried to sort of broadly, and using an extremely broad brush, (which I am not applying to any specific set of facts) to explain my initial post.

        My experience generally is that failing to invoke one’s Miranda rights and instead copping to significant criminal activity during the interview stage (i.e., before one’s 6th Amendment right to counsel has attached)  will indeed result in getting you out of the woods (or whatever other living situation one might be enjoying). The problem however is that statements (or in evidence parlance “admissions”) such as those discussed by the newspaper article could potentially place you in somewhat less pleasant environments, for instance, state or federal prison.

        As I think your post suggests, perhaps this gentleman would have found prison preferable and so made the statements as part of a calculated effort to secure jail time. I find this explanation implausible, since the defendants seems to have an aversion to close contact with others. It seems much more likely to me that what occurred is that  (as with what I think is probably the vast majority of criminals questioned by the police, particularly those who do not have significant experience with the criminal justice system) the defendant felt compelled (for whatever reason) to own up to much or all past criminal conduct. Again, in my experience, these statements are often made by defendants without regard to the potential increase in criminal liability which can result.

        In further support of this view, I think the mere fact that the defendant was caught in the middle of a burglary, and law enforcement subsequently found his camp is probably enough to ensure that the defendant would no longer be able to utilize his campsite -throwing in admissions covering potentially 1000 additional criminal charges seems to me like it would do nothing but increase his potential criminal liability (which again, perhaps the defendant found to be desirable for some reason).

        To sum up the intent of my initial post; making broad-ranging admissions to law enforcement about your criminal activities is generally best handled only with the advice of counsel, who can in some instances, ensure lessened criminal penalties. etc.

        Thanks again for sharing your thoughts; it is fun for me to write about this stuff.

  7. Such burglarizing a campsite is heinous deed and law enforcer’s concerted prompt action is praiseworthy. A legitimized action should be taken drastically.

    1. Why was he not tasered, shot, beaten and charged with “resisting arrest”? It was the wardens birthday – that’s no excuse to get lazy!

      I got the impression that police in the US is usually more thorough.

        1. If he goes to prison/jail they should stick him in solitary. Not as punishment but as a kindess. Could you imagine being alone in the woods for 27 years, then being locked in a tiny cell with (possibly) violent criminals?

    1. I was wondering what happened to his beard.  Hermits have beards, we all know the rules!

    1.  People in mug shots, having quite recently been arrested, rarely look happy and jolly.  The ones who do, are genuinely *really* creepy.

      Well-adjusted, happy people do not generally live his lifestyle.

  8. BTW “camp” can refer to a vacation cabin or cottage in rural New England, and where he was caught seems to be a summer camp for kids.   So these were probably buildings on private property, not temporary campsites. 

  9. Like someone else said up there, they should let him go, at least he wasn’t living off the backs of taxpayers for the last 27 years.  “Free the North Pond Hermit Bandit”!!!

    1. as living in maine/the u.s. implies my consent to be governed and therefore taxed by them, i would much rather be wilfully giving my tax dollars to be used for someone to buy food than having someone damage my property and take my food without permission.

  10. You can’t burglarize a campsite, only structures. He probably was a sneak-theft akin to a pack-rat. Perhaps he should be sentenced to outcasting of civilized areas, forced to live in the woods.

    1. again, the article doesn’t state that he was burglarizing campsites, that’s an error on mr. pescovitz’ part.  he was breaking and entering into cabins and summer camp structures.

  11. I think by “camp” they mean what people where I am call the “cottage”. 

    Yes, someone could survive quite handily by raiding cottages. Often all the necessities of life are contained therein and he could even find many insulated+wood stove cottages to take a break from roughing it in winter months if he was careful to observe the situation first. 

    Some cottages are fully appointed tiny houses. Ours has wood stove, diesel generator, solar, insulation, furniture, beds and bedding etc. plus usually some dry rations that stay there, like teas, chocolates, coffees, candies, along with some actual food. But it is snowbound through the winter months, a long snowshoe trek to reach it from the road, then much effort with the plow-equipped ATV that is there if you need to get a vehicle in during winter. 

    If someone were careful not to leave traces (and really, I won’t know how much food/coffee is there after not being there for 4-5 months) and had their own food they could easily winter there without our knowing. 

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