Authorities won’t consider new theft reports in ‘North Pond Hermit’ case

Christopher Knight appears with his lawyer for his arraignment hearing at the Kennebec County Superior Courthouse on Tuesday, April 16, 2013.
Carter F. McCall | BDN
Christopher Knight appears with his lawyer for his arraignment hearing at the Kennebec County Superior Courthouse on Tuesday, April 16, 2013. Buy Photo
By Christopher Cousins, BDN Staff
Posted April 16, 2013, at 12:49 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Authorities will not be considering any newly reported thefts or burglaries in the case of the man now known as the “North Pond Hermit,” according to Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney.

Christopher Knight, 47, has been held in Kennebec County Jail in Augusta since his arrest earlier this month after he was caught allegedly burglarizing the Pine Tree Camp in Rome. On Friday, he also was charged with burglary and theft for stealing food and the pair of jeans and the brown leather belt he was wearing when he was apprehended after 27 years living alone in the woods.

Knight allegedly admitted to committing more than 1,000 burglaries to area camps and homes while living in the woods to steal items, such as food, sleeping bags and clothing, he needed in order to survive.

“If you didn’t report your burglary or theft case before Mr. Knight was arrested, if it wasn’t important enough for you to report at the time, we’re not taking those reports now,” said Maloney. “There’s no question that Mr. Knight is a sympathetic person in some ways, but we also do have to remember that there are a number of victims who had not just items stolen from them, but also had their sense of security stolen from them. … My hope is at the very least that we will be able to get restitution for the victims.”

She added that she expects perhaps 15-20 charges in the case, not the 1,000 or more that Knight told authorities he was responsible for.

Knight appeared in Kennebec County Superior Court Tuesday afternoon through a video link with Kennebec County Jail. He said nothing other than “yes” or “no” to a handful of questions from Justice Nancy Mills.

According to the affidavit written by state police Trooper Diane Perkins-Vance, lead investigator in the case, Knight admitted to burglarizing a seasonal residence at 67 Maple Ridge Road in Rome between Sept. 30 and Oct. 8, 2012. Knight allegedly forced open a kitchen window to gain access to the property. Perkins-Vance seized the jeans and belt, which were in storage at Kennebec County Jail.

“Knight told me he remembered this and that he was responsible,” wrote Perkins-Vance, who also stated that she questioned Knight about numerous other cases that stemmed from between 2008 and 2012.

“Knight admitted his involvement in numerous cases,” wrote the trooper.

According to an affidavit dated Sunday and filed in Kennebec County Superior Court in Augusta, Christopher Knight’s bail went from $5,000 to $250,000 over the weekend, but Maloney and Knight’s court-appointed attorney, Walter McKee, met Tuesday morning and agreed to reduce Knight’s bail from $250,000 to $25,000. Mills later approved that bail amount.

“He is not interested in being released. He has nowhere to go,” Maloney said, adding that Knight will be the subject of a mental health evaluation that was requested by McKee.

A concern for Knight’s safety and the fear that he may be a flight risk resulted in authorities raising his bail over the weekend.

“Bail was set at $250,000 because Knight is a flight risk, there have been unknown third-party attempts to bail him or assist and his flight and there is a major concern for Mr. Knight’s safety,” wrote Perkins-Vance.

In addition to the bail reduction, Maloney and McKee agreed to a stipulation in which no third party can post Knight’s bail on his behalf. If released, he would also be barred from leaving the state, be required to provide an address where he was staying and be responsible for making contact with McKee or law enforcement authorities on a weekly basis.

According to Maloney, two people have attempted to bail Knight out of jail. One of those people was from New Hampshire, attempting to post bail on behalf of someone from New York, Maloney said.

“He’s certainly not interested in remaining in jail for an extended period of time, but at least for the time being, it does enable him to have some protection from the outside world,” Maloney said.

Meanwhile, according to Maloney, Knight’s mother is interested in reconnecting with her son.

“My understanding is that [State Trooper Diane Perkins-Vance] has spoken briefly with his mother and that she would like to see him,” said Maloney following Knight’s arraignment Tuesday afternoon at Kennebec County Superior Court in Augusta. “My understanding is that arrangements are being made to make that possible.”

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/04/16/news/mid-maine/authorities-concerned-about-safety-of-north-pond-hermit-and-potential-as-a-flight-risk/ printed on September 18, 2014