The Maine "hermit" wants to get back to the land, but first he'll have to deal with up to a dozen new burglary charges.
When he was arrested for a break-in earlier this month, Christopher Knight, 47, amazed the public with his story of spending 27 years in the woods with no human contact, surviving on whatever he could steal from surrounding camps.
Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said Friday that police are combing through burglary reports from the last six years — the statute of limitations — and matching them to Knight's confession of hundreds of thefts.
Kennebec County Sheriff's Office
Christopher Knight was arrested on April 4, 2013, while stealing food from a camp in Rome, Maine.
In the next two weeks, Knight will be hit with a new round of charges. Maloney, though, said no one is anxious to throw the book at the remorseful recluse, who wants to pay back his victims.
"Christopher Knight has a bank account and all money put into that bank account will go first to pay restitution and any more left over goes to him," Maloney said.
"He has said it is his dream to have enough to buy his own piece of land."
Knight, who told police he simply walked into the forest when he was 19 and never looked back, built a makeshift camp for himself in Rome that has since been dismantled.
There were rumors of a "North Pond Hermit" who was breaking into camps that ring the pond, but no one saw him until Knight tripped an alarm three weeks ago and was arrested.
He was charged with one burglary and then a second. His bail was raised to $250,000 then lowered to $25,000, with the restriction that it couldn't be posted by a third party, to stop someone from taking advantage of him.
While he's been held in the county jail, where he's awaiting a mental health evaluation, his only complaint has been "the television is too loud," Maloney said.
He mainly speaks to his lawyer, who declined to speak about him, and the investigating officer, Trooper Diane Perkins-Vance. The trooper has befriended Knight, visiting when she's off the clock.
"He told me it's not that he dislikes people, he just doesn’t want to be around people," Perkins-Vance told WCSH.
Knight's apparent restraint in stealing only what he needed and his apologies to the victims have made him a sympathetic figure. He even got a marriage proposal, and there's talk of a book deal.
Maloney said the suspect lucked out by getting Perkins-Vance as an investigator and herself as the prosecutor.
"[She] hasn’t viewed this case as 'I want to lock him up and throw away the key," the DA said, "And I ran on a platform of being smart on crime and differentiating between crimes where a person can be rehabilitated and ones where they cannot."