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Despite solitude, hermit had taste for fine things

  • A coffee pot was one of the many items removed from the camp used by Christopher Knight, Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Rome, Maine.  Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit, was arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food at a camp in Rome. Authorities said he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries during his decades in the woods. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty))

    A coffee pot was one of the many items removed from the camp used by Christopher Knight, Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Rome, Maine. Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit, was arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food at a camp in Rome. Authorities said he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries during his decades in the woods. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty))

  • This April 2013 booking photo released by the Kennebec County Sheriff's Office in Augusta, Maine, shows Christopher Knight, arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food from a camp in Rome, Maine.  Authorities said Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit and who lived for 27 years in the woods of central Maine, may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries.  (AP Photo/Kennebec County Sheriff's Office)

    This April 2013 booking photo released by the Kennebec County Sheriff's Office in Augusta, Maine, shows Christopher Knight, arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food from a camp in Rome, Maine. Authorities said Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit and who lived for 27 years in the woods of central Maine, may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries. (AP Photo/Kennebec County Sheriff's Office)

  • This photo released Wednesday, April 10, 2013 by the Maine Department of Public Safety shows a camp in a remote, section of Rome, Maine, where authorities believe Christopher Knight lived like a hermit for decades.  Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit, was arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food from another camp in Rome.  Authorities said he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries.  (AP Photo/Maine Department of Public Safety)

    This photo released Wednesday, April 10, 2013 by the Maine Department of Public Safety shows a camp in a remote, section of Rome, Maine, where authorities believe Christopher Knight lived like a hermit for decades. Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit, was arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food from another camp in Rome. Authorities said he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries. (AP Photo/Maine Department of Public Safety)

  • Items allegedly used by Christopher Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit, are displayed by Maine Department of Public Safety, Wednesday, April 10, 2013, in Augusta, Maine.  Knight lived like a hermit for decades. Known as the North Pond Hermit, Knight was arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food from another camp in Rome. Authorities said he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries. (AP Photo/Glenn Adams)

    Items allegedly used by Christopher Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit, are displayed by Maine Department of Public Safety, Wednesday, April 10, 2013, in Augusta, Maine. Knight lived like a hermit for decades. Known as the North Pond Hermit, Knight was arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food from another camp in Rome. Authorities said he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries. (AP Photo/Glenn Adams)

  • A 1984 yearbook, opened to a page showing Christopher Knight, is displayed on a map prior to a news briefing by the Maine Department of Public Safety, Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Rome, Maine.  Knight lived like a hermit for decades. Known as the North Pond Hermit, Knight was arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food from another camp in Rome. Authorities said he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty))

    A 1984 yearbook, opened to a page showing Christopher Knight, is displayed on a map prior to a news briefing by the Maine Department of Public Safety, Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Rome, Maine. Knight lived like a hermit for decades. Known as the North Pond Hermit, Knight was arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food from another camp in Rome. Authorities said he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty))

  • Dave Proulx, a camp owner on North Pond, speaks to reporters, Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Rome, Maine.  Proulx said he once chased Christopher Knight.  Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit, was arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food from another camp in Rome. Authorities said he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty))

    Dave Proulx, a camp owner on North Pond, speaks to reporters, Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Rome, Maine. Proulx said he once chased Christopher Knight. Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit, was arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food from another camp in Rome. Authorities said he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty))

  • An evidence receipt hangs from a tent removed from the camp used by Christopher Knight, Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Rome, Maine.  Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit, was arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food at a camp in Rome. Authorities said he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries during his decades in the woods. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty))

    An evidence receipt hangs from a tent removed from the camp used by Christopher Knight, Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Rome, Maine. Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit, was arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food at a camp in Rome. Authorities said he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries during his decades in the woods. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty))

  • A sleeping bag was one of the many items removed from the camp used by Christopher Knight, Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Rome, Maine.  Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit, was arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food at a camp in Rome. Authorities said he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries during his decades in the woods. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty))

    A sleeping bag was one of the many items removed from the camp used by Christopher Knight, Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Rome, Maine. Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit, was arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food at a camp in Rome. Authorities said he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries during his decades in the woods. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty))

  • State Trooper Sean Kinney carries a trash can containing one of the tents used by Christopher Knight, after law enforcement officials took down Knight's camp, Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Rome, Maine.  Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit, was arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food at a camp in Rome. Authorities said he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries during his decades in the woods. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty))

    State Trooper Sean Kinney carries a trash can containing one of the tents used by Christopher Knight, after law enforcement officials took down Knight's camp, Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Rome, Maine. Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit, was arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food at a camp in Rome. Authorities said he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries during his decades in the woods. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty))

  • State Trooper Diane Perkins-Vance, left, and Game Warden Terry Hughes speak at a news conference after a camp belonging to Christopher Knight was removed from the woods, Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Rome, Maine.  Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit, was arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food at a camp in Rome. Authorities said he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries during his decades in the woods. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty))

    State Trooper Diane Perkins-Vance, left, and Game Warden Terry Hughes speak at a news conference after a camp belonging to Christopher Knight was removed from the woods, Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Rome, Maine. Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit, was arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food at a camp in Rome. Authorities said he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries during his decades in the woods. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty))

  • Law enforcement officials unload items removed from a camp used by Christopher Knight, Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Rome, Maine.  Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit, was arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food at a camp in Rome. Authorities said he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries during his decades in the woods. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty))

    Law enforcement officials unload items removed from a camp used by Christopher Knight, Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Rome, Maine. Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit, was arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food at a camp in Rome. Authorities said he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries during his decades in the woods. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty))

  • A coffee pot was one of the many items removed from the camp used by Christopher Knight, Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Rome, Maine.  Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit, was arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food at a camp in Rome. Authorities said he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries during his decades in the woods. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty))
  • This April 2013 booking photo released by the Kennebec County Sheriff's Office in Augusta, Maine, shows Christopher Knight, arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food from a camp in Rome, Maine.  Authorities said Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit and who lived for 27 years in the woods of central Maine, may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries.  (AP Photo/Kennebec County Sheriff's Office)
  • This photo released Wednesday, April 10, 2013 by the Maine Department of Public Safety shows a camp in a remote, section of Rome, Maine, where authorities believe Christopher Knight lived like a hermit for decades.  Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit, was arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food from another camp in Rome.  Authorities said he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries.  (AP Photo/Maine Department of Public Safety)
  • Items allegedly used by Christopher Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit, are displayed by Maine Department of Public Safety, Wednesday, April 10, 2013, in Augusta, Maine.  Knight lived like a hermit for decades. Known as the North Pond Hermit, Knight was arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food from another camp in Rome. Authorities said he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries. (AP Photo/Glenn Adams)
  • A 1984 yearbook, opened to a page showing Christopher Knight, is displayed on a map prior to a news briefing by the Maine Department of Public Safety, Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Rome, Maine.  Knight lived like a hermit for decades. Known as the North Pond Hermit, Knight was arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food from another camp in Rome. Authorities said he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty))
  • Dave Proulx, a camp owner on North Pond, speaks to reporters, Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Rome, Maine.  Proulx said he once chased Christopher Knight.  Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit, was arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food from another camp in Rome. Authorities said he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty))
  • An evidence receipt hangs from a tent removed from the camp used by Christopher Knight, Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Rome, Maine.  Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit, was arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food at a camp in Rome. Authorities said he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries during his decades in the woods. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty))
  • A sleeping bag was one of the many items removed from the camp used by Christopher Knight, Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Rome, Maine.  Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit, was arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food at a camp in Rome. Authorities said he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries during his decades in the woods. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty))
  • State Trooper Sean Kinney carries a trash can containing one of the tents used by Christopher Knight, after law enforcement officials took down Knight's camp, Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Rome, Maine.  Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit, was arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food at a camp in Rome. Authorities said he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries during his decades in the woods. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty))
  • State Trooper Diane Perkins-Vance, left, and Game Warden Terry Hughes speak at a news conference after a camp belonging to Christopher Knight was removed from the woods, Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Rome, Maine.  Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit, was arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food at a camp in Rome. Authorities said he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries during his decades in the woods. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty))
  • Law enforcement officials unload items removed from a camp used by Christopher Knight, Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Rome, Maine.  Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit, was arrested Thursday, April 4, 2013, while stealing food at a camp in Rome. Authorities said he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries during his decades in the woods. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty))

He would meditate on an overturned bucket while staring up at the sky and knew all the eagles that nested nearby.

But despite his 27 years of seclusion in the woods, Christopher Knight also had a taste for the finer things in life, authorities said yesterday after dismantling the so-called North Pond hermit’s lair in Rome, Maine.

In the 47-year-old’s camp, they recovered goods that included high-end L.L. Bean sleeping bags and a new tent.

He was wearing brand-new shoes and gloves, all believed stolen, when authorities arrested him after he tripped a surveillance sensor at a camp last week. They believe Knight may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries of food and other staples during the nearly three decades he hunkered down in the woods.

Game Warden Sgt. Terry Hughes said yesterday that authorities believe Knight broke into cottages and stole quality products because they would last longer and help perpetuate his life of solitude.

And the hermit apparently didn’t steal fridge leftovers either.

“He was a fussy eater,” said Dave Proulx, a nearby cottage owner who tried to capture the hermit six or seven years ago after falling victim to more than a dozen break-ins.

Proulx, who said he came face to face with Knight while staking out his own cottage, said the hermit never made off with meat that wasn’t in its original packaging.

On the rainy, cloudy night of their encounter, the hermit escaped by canoe after Proulx threw on a floodlight and chased him to a dock, Proulx said.

Authorities filled two pickup trucks yesterday as they took apart Knight’s camp, later displaying what they were calling evidence for residents to sort through to try to recover their stolen goods.

There were several Nintendo Game Boys and a wristwatch, along with shovels, rakes, coolers, cooking gear, a coffee pot and toilet paper.

Authorities said Knight used logs on the ground as a makeshift commode, and at one point, attached an antenna to a treetop so he could get reception on his battery-powered TV in his tarp-covered camp.

Many locals said they were relieved by Knight’s arrest after enduring years of break-ins. Before the camp’s dismantling, some curious locals hiked about a mile into the woods with the police to get a look at the hermit’s camp.

Among them was Frank Ten Broeck, a retired New Jersey police official who has a cottage nearby.

“To me, this is mind-boggling. I just can’t believe this guy was here 27 years,” Ten Broeck said.

But the land’s owner disappointed them, deciding to let only authorities into the camp yesterday.

A corrections officer at Kennebec County Jail in Augusta said Knight was refusing requests for interviews.

He has applied for a court-appointed lawyer and hasn’t entered a plea to the burglary and theft charges stemming from the break-in at Pine Tree Camp, a facility for special needs people.

Authorities said they caught Knight with $283 in goods in his backpack after he fell into a trap set by Hughes, who’s been trying to capture the elusive woodsman for years.

In his police mug shot, Knight is clean-shaven, has short-cropped hair and is sporting a style of eyeglasses from the 1980s.

It’s a different look than in his photo from the 1984 yearbook from Lawrence High School in Fairfield, Maine. In it, Knight is wearing horn-rimmed glasses and has long, thick dark hair.

The blurb accompanying the picture says Knight’s plans were to become a computer technician.

But authorities said by the time he was about 19, he’d disappeared into the woods.

Authorities say Knight doesn’t show signs of mental illness and they’ve uncovered no other motive for his seclusion except that he wanted to be alone.

Knight’s arrest came a little more than a week after the capture of a self-styled mountain man in Utah who shared some of the same traits. For six years, Troy James Knapp ransacked cabins on national forest land for guns, food and high-end camping gear, authorities said.

Knapp, a 45-year-old California parolee who went on the run in 2004, faces 29 burglary-related felony and misdemeanor charges in Utah that could keep him in jail for life.

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