April 20, 2013

Hermit's backpack laden with tools, food at time of arrest

Additional details surrounding Christopher Knight's capture, life revealed in affidavit

By Betty Adams badams@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

The North Pond Hermit carried no identification when law enforcement officers stopped him April 4 as he left the Pine Tree Camp dining hall in Rome about 1 a.m., laden with food and tools.

click image to enlarge

Christopher Knight was apprehended at Pine Tree Camp in Rome on April 4 carrying candy, potato chips, ball cap, poncho and a wrist watch that were all stolen from the camp, according to police.

Staff file photo by Andy Molloy

click image to enlarge

Tools were found in a bag that Christopher Knight was carrying when he was apprehended at Pine Tree Camp in Rome on April 4.

Staff file photo by Andy Molloy

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Here is a list of items seized by police from a backpack and a gym bag allegedly carried by Christopher T. Knight on April 4 as he was arrested at Pine Tree Camp in Rome:

• two sets of keys

• a green L.L. Bean backpack

• an Armitron watch

• a roll of Hormel bacon

• two MorningStar vegetable meals

• two bags of tortellini shells

• a new roll of electrical tape

• 10 candy items

• a Stearns poncho

• a brown baseball hat

• blue pliers

• four bottles of Poland Spring water

• corn syrup

• two Folgers coffee tubs

• a block of American cheese

• three-quarters of a pound of Imperial provolone cheese

• Kraft marshmallows

• a bag of Humpty Dumpty chips

• two partial bags of chicken nuggets

• a bag of hamburger patties

• a partial bag of sausage links

• a box of Special K chips

Source: Search warrant request affidavit by Trooper Diane Perkins-Vance

The suspect, who police said later identified himself as Christopher T. Knight, 47, carried a standard Leatherman tool. His wallet contained $395 in bills, some of them old. In a backpack and a gym bag he had $425.38 worth of items belonging to the camp.

Those fresh details are among many contained in a new police affidavit filed by state police Trooper Diane Perkins-Vance when she later sought a judge's approval for a search warrant to seize items from Knight's encampment in the woods near North Pond. Knight is suspected of committing more than 1,000 camp burglaries during his nearly three decades of living in the central Maine woods, and his case has attracted worldwide media attention.

Knight initially refused to talk when he was caught, but hours later officers learned more about him, including his claim that he lived a hermitlike existence and had only one brief conversation in the 1990s with a passing hiker.

"I had to talk with the male subject for some time to convince him to provide me with his name," Perkins-Vance wrote in the newly released court document. "The reason why he did not want to provide me with his name was because he was ashamed of his actions and did not want his name to appear in the paper."

Meanwhile, one of Knight's cousins, Kevin Nelson, of Pittston, said he remembered learning of Knight's disappearance in the 1980s when he was at his grandparents, and he recalled his grandmother's concern.

"She worried to death about him," Nelson said. "She said no one's seen Christopher; no one's heard from him. Grammy really worried abut him tremendously over the years."

A records check by police showed no criminal record for Knight, no warrants and no indication he was a missing person. It also showed he had a valid a driver's license that had expired in December 1987.

Ultimately on the day of his arrest, Knight told Perkins-Vance he had no address and lived mostly in the woods: "He said that he did not have a vehicle, did not get mail, did not file a tax return and did not collect any kind of disability."

He told police he left Albion some 27 years ago for the woods. He said he burglarized large and small camps to get everything he needed to survive, including his clothes. The only thing he had that was not stolen was the pair of eyeglasses he wore.

Knight said he had attended Lawrence High School in Fairfield and went to vocational school for computers.

"He did tell me he worked in this field for a year, and it wasn't that he didn't like it, but realized that computers were constantly changing," Perkins-Vance wrote.

Knight didn't want to talk about his family at all, and he told investigators — who had been seeking an elusive burglar for decades that he had been getting into camps since the 1980s — that he had no contact with his family after he left his Albion home around 1986. Police said Knight admitted to repeatedly burglarizing Pine Tree Camp, a nonprofit camp for children and adults with disabilities.

"I later learned that he did not even know the name of the town he lived in," Perkins-Vance wrote, though he knew he was in the Belgrade Lakes area between three ponds — East Pond, North Pond and Little North Pond.

Knight at first denied he had a campsite, but later that morning he led officers to it.

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

This surveillance camera photo shows a man wearing a backpack, alleged to be Christopher Knight, during a 2011 burglary.

Photo courtesy Maine State Police

Christopher Knight

Courtesy Kennebec County Jail


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