Hermit who spent 27 years in Maine woods accused in hundreds of burglaries

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(CNN) — Police have arrested a man known as the North Pond Hermit, who is accused of burglarizing areas in the woods of central Maine for 27 years, state police told CNN.

Christopher Knight, 47, was charged with one count of felony burglary and one count of theft, but police suspect he’s responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries since living in a campsite in the woods in Rome, Maine.

Maine State Police spokesman Stephen McCausland told CNN that the arresting warden was the second person Knight had been in contact with in 27 years. Knight was arrested last Thursday after he tripped surveillance equipment at a camp and Terry Hughes, a Maine Warden Service sergeant who lived nearby, caught him committing a burglary, McCausland said.

“It’s been a myth, this character, this folklore person who is known as the hermit, who we’ve all known about, this unknown suspect who moves around in society and burglarizes camps,” Hughes said at a news conference on Wednesday.”

“It’s surreal, he’s surreal, the situation is surreal,” said Maine State Trooper Diane Perkins-Vance at the news conference.

Harvey Chesley, the facilities manager of the nearby camp, told CNN affiliate WCSH that Knight would jimmy the locks on the sliding glass doors and “take anything he could find,” including sliced meat, Parmesan cheese, coffee and camping equipment.

Chelsey and Knight attended the same small high school in Fairfield, Maine, at the same time.

“(Knight) said ‘I’m truly sorry for all the harm I have caused you,’ ” Chesley told WCSH. “I do believe him.”

Knight is being held on a $5,000 cash bond at the Kennebec County Jail. As is custom in Augusta, he had a video arraignment Friday for his first court appearance. His next court date is yet to be determined.

This article was written by CNN’s Brittany Brady.  TM & © 2012 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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