Thursday, June 13, 2013

Maine hermit who burgled neighbors' homes draws sympathy from some

Katharine Q. Seelye reported for the NYT from North Pond, Maine, on the public response to the arrest a few months ago of Christopher Knight, 47, who had been living in self-imposed exile in Maine Woods for 27 years. Knight has confessed to committing more than 1000 burglaries from the homes of area residents during that time.  He was caught red-handed this spring stealing bacon, coffee and marshmallows from a camp for the disabled.  Seelye reports:
[Neighbors] were unnerved that a local legend of a hermit-burglar had turned out to be true, that someone really had been lurking in the woods all this time watching them and studying their habits: when they would be home, when they would stock their freezers. 
But to some, he was a figure of sympathy, like Boo Radley, the recluse in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Like Boo, Mr. Knight was initially feared but came to be seen not as someone who was dangerous but as someone who needed to be protected.
* * *

He had lived in someone else’s woods, undetected under camouflage-colored tarps and completely off the grid; he paid no taxes, had no address and never used a cellphone.
North Pond is in in the Belgrade Lakes area of central Maine, part of Kennebec County, which includes Augusta.  

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