‘North Pond Hermit’ faces two new charges, higher bail

Christopher Knight, 47, is shown in this Kennebec County Jail booking photo following his arrest on April 4, 2013.
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Christopher Knight, 47, is shown in this Kennebec County Jail booking photo following his arrest on April 4, 2013.
Posted April 15, 2013, at 12:41 p.m.
Last modified April 15, 2013, at 5:12 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Potential victims of the “North Pond Hermit” will be given a chance to view the items he allegedly stole in more than 1,000 burglaries once police have had a chance to inventory the contents of the encampment he reportedly called home for 27 years.

Christopher Knight, 47, faces two new charges — a Class C charge of burglary and a Class E misdemeanor charge of theft by unauthorized taking or transfer — in addition to the original two charges of burglary and theft by unauthorized taking or transfer.

The remnants of Knight’s camp — a makeshift shelter tucked in the woods of Rome — have been moved to Maine State Police Troop C barracks in Skowhegan, according to Maine State Police Trooper Diane Perkins-Vance.

“Everything has kind of been weeded through, and at some point, it will be placed on display for people to go through,” Perkins-Vance said Monday, referring to the many camp owners and homeowners on North Pond who have called her office asking about lost valuables since Knight was arrested on April 4.

Perkins-Vance, the lead investigator in the case, is wading through reports filed over the past six years by landowners in the towns surrounding North Pond.

“As of Friday, I went through numerous reports with [Knight],” she said. “Ultimately, the end result isn’t up to me. I report the facts to the district attorney.”

Knight’s bail jumped dramatically over the weekend, from $5,000 to $250,000, according to an official at the Kennebec County Correctional Facility in Augusta.

Knight was taken into police custody on April 4 after police officials said they caught him breaking into the Pine Tree Camp for disabled children and adults in Rome. The Albion native told them that he had been living in the woods for nearly 30 years and had spoken just once to another person in that time. He said that he committed more than 1,000 burglaries of nearby camps and cabins during that time in order to take food, propane, clothes, reading material and the other things he needed to survive.

Efforts to reach a jail administrator or the Kennebec County district attorney on Monday, a state holiday, to ask why Knight’s bail was raised so much were not immediately successful.

Capt. Marsha Alexander said last week that the jail had been inundated by media requests for interviews with Knight, who at that time declined to participate and who also had not yet received any visits from family or friends.

“One thing people need to stop doing is calling [the jail], and stop trying to go see him,” said Perkins-Vance on Monday afternoon.

Knight told Perkins-Vance that he would consider seeing family members only.

“I’ve seen him quite a few times since [the arrest],” said Perkins-Vance. “He’s doing a lot better. He’s personable — smiling. I have a good rapport with him, so he enjoys seeing me.”

Knight is living in common quarters with six roommates, Perkins-Vance said. He has applied to receive a court-appointed attorney.

“I believe they put him in an older group, his own age,” she said. “He was in his own cell for the first couple of days. He seems to be doing very well under the circumstances.”

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