Missing Man Stuns Town After They Find Out He’s Been Burglarizing For 27 Years
15. He Vanished without a Trace
It was a typical summer day in 1986 when 20-year-old Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts and drove to Maine, never to be heard from again. Parking his car on the outskirts of the forest, Christopher left his keys on the dashboard and stepped into the darkness of the trees, leaving behind everything he knew for a world of solitude.
It would be 27 years before he was ever seen again…
14. The North Pond Hermit
The story of Christopher Knight aka “the North Pond Hermit” is not your typical disappearance story. There’s no dark and sordid past, nor did he commit a crime; in fact, Christopher was an upstanding citizen who came from a stoic yet loving family. Christopher simply didn’t feel he had a place in society; therefore, his simple solution was to leave it.
13. Alone in the Wild
Christopher took up residence in an area of Augusta, Maine where the forest is pretty much impenetrable. Living in a tent among the thick brush, he didn’t speak to another living soul for three decades, stealing items he needed from nearby camps and cabins. Of course, this created an unsettling atmosphere for the locals.
12. A Kind and Thoughtful Burglar
Most of the burglaries occurred in the cover of night, when Christopher would trek from his camp to the more populated areas of the woods. Unlike most burglars, he would make sure to pick the locks of the homes he broke into, take what he needed and then re-lock the doors behind him. We guess he gets an A+ for politeness.
11. Over One Thousand Burglaries
Over 1,000 robberies took place over the past 27 years with little to no explanation. Many residents were unnerved to say the least because there was no trace of who took their belongings. For one woman, she was devastated because several irreplaceable family heirlooms were stolen.
10. Enough is Enough
The people living in the area were soon at their wits end. Imagine having a mysterious thief taking items and you didn’t know if it was a man, woman or someone playing a practical joke. However, a game warden named Terry Hughes was determined to put an end to the mischief that had been going on for the past three decades.
9. To Catch a Thief
Hughes setup high-tech surveillance equipment all around the woods, with some of the items being used by Homeland Security. Eventually, he was able to identify and catch Christopher Knight, finally putting a face to the phantom who had jacking items for almost thirty years.
8. Finally Caught
Christopher Knight was officially arrested on April 4, 2013 while he was in the midst of burglarizing Pine Tree Camp. The police were shocked to find a man in particular good health and followed him back to his camp where he had hoarded most of the items he had stolen.
7. A Love of Books
According to Michael Finkel, who wrote the book “The Stranger in the Woods,” one of the main items that Christopher stole was books. In fact, he had stolen hundreds if not thousands of books over the years. He also had stacks of National Geographic magazines that he had used to even out the floor of his campsite.
6. Life After Solidarity
After his arrest, Christopher Knight was sentenced to seven months in jail for his crimes. He was also ordered to pay $1,500 in restitution and complete a Co-Occurring Disorders Court Program, which is designed for people with mental health disorders. His attorney believed that a longer and harsher punishment would have been unfair, since Knight’s motives were not malicious. Christopher did express remorse for his crimes, stating he knew stealing was wrong, despite the fact he continued to do it for three decades.
5. A Return to Modern Society
Once Christopher was released he returned to modern society, securing a job with his brother and leaving behind his world of isolation. After his story hit the news cycle, many people wondered how he had survived the harsh Maine winters for so long and the answer may surprise you.
4. 27 Winters without Incident
According to Knight, during the winter he would wake up at 2:30 AM when the temperature was at its coldest and pace the perimeter of his camp. He would also use this time to melt snow for drinkable water. Despite the harshness of the environment, Christopher managed to survive 27 winters unscathed thanks to routine.
3. Incredible Survival Skills
One reporter had the chance to meet with Christopher and walk the same route he would use from his camp into the populated areas he would usually pillage from. According to the reporter, he was absolutely amazed at how silent and swift Christopher was when he moved through the trees. He commented that Knight’s ability to move through the dense woods so nimbly and quietly contributed to his successful camp raids over the years.
2. A Unique Tale
The story of Christopher Knight is definitely a unique tale. It’s one about a man who left the life he had known because there was no place for him in this world. While some may say he had a mental disorder, according to those who spent time with him he was extremely bright. He just didn’t think he could make a contribution to modern society.
1. Freedom from Perception
Although many have tried to get Christopher to discuss his motives for leaving, he has remained quiet on the matter. However, he has said this:
“Solitude bestows an increase in something valuable…my perception. But…when I applied my increased perception to myself, I lost my identity. There was no audience, no one to perform for…To put it romantically, I was completely free.”