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Christopher Thomas Knight did not live a normal existence. On the contrary, his lifestyle was different from almost everyone else in America. For 27 years, he was secluded in the woods without almost any contact with other people. He would spend his days meditating on higher things and divinity while sitting on an upended bucket. He studied the sky, the clouds and knew where all the eagles built their nests in the nearby north Maine woods. Knight remained in the woods for nearly three decades because he carefully stole food and gear from nearby campers without drawing attention to himself. But eventually, his lifestyle caught up with him. And in 2013, authorities found Christopher Thomas Knight’s lair in the secluded woods of northeastern Maine and piece by piece dismantled his collection.
Knight was 47 when the authorities caught up with him. Police found luxury LL Bean sleeping bags and a brand-new tent – he was taking these items from campers who went out into the woods for vacation.
Knight also had brand-new shoes and high-quality gloves. Authorities had no other explanation as to how he got them than that they were stolen. Authorities only caught up with him after he accidentally tripped a surveillance sensor at a camp.
And now that they know who he is and where he lives, police believe Knight is responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries of food and other essentials during the nearly three decades he spent hiding from civilization in the woods.
Game warden Sergeant Terry Hughes believes Knight would target the richest people and take their high-quality belongings because they would last longer and help him continue to live his hermit life. But despite his chosen lifestyle, Knight had refined tastes. For instance, he wouldn’t take left over food.
One nearby cottage owner tried to catch Knight in the act about six or seven years ago because he had broken in a dozen times or more.
“He was a fussy eater,” said Dave Proulx, the nearby cottage owner, said.
Proulx saw Knight in the flesh while keeping watch on his cottage one night. Knight would not take food that wasn’t in its original packaging. Knight struck Proulx cottage on a rainy, cloudy night and escape by canoe.
When authorities found Knight’s camp, they filled up two pickup trucks with all the goods the hermit had stolen throughout the years. He had numerous Nintendo Game Boys, a wristwatch, shovels, rakes, cooking gear, toilet paper and a whole lot of other stuff.
Knight was resourceful. He used logs as a bathroom pot and even attached an antenna to trees after stealing a battery-operated TV.
Locals are shocked to know Knight has been living in their midst for decades. And now that he has been arrested, they are glad.
Frank Ten Broeck, who is a retired New Jersey police official who owns a cottage nearby, admires Knight’s resiliency.
“To me this is mind-boggling. I just can’t believe this guy was here 27 years,” Ten Broeck said. “This is some of the most severe weather you can go through.”
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