Fund set up to repay Maine hermit victims

Published 10:21 am Thursday, April 18, 2013

AUGUSTA, Maine — The attorney for a Maine man who lived in the woods as a hermit for 27 years has established a fund to repay people who think they were victims of burglaries at their cottages by the recluse.

Christopher Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit, may have committed as many as 1,000 burglaries over the years for food, clothing, camping and cooking gear and other supplies that allowed him to live at a camp in the woods of the rural town of Rome, police have said.

Knight, who is 47, was arrested earlier this month while allegedly breaking into a camp for people with special needs to steal food. He is being held on $25,000 bail.

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Knight’s lawyer, Walter McKee, told the Kennebec Journal the account will pay for “what will be the substantial restitution he will owe for what he took.”

“Chris very much wants to make things right,” McKee told the Augusta newspaper via email. People who want to contribute to the fund can send donations to McKee at his Augusta law firm.

Lillie Cogswell of Wimberley, Texas, whose camp on Little North Pond was burglarized, said that her family “the monetary issue is not an overriding issue” and that there should be consequences for Knight’s behavior.

“The bigger part was all of us feeling uncomfortable and not feeling safe and feeling like someone was watching us in our homes,” said Cogswell.

District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said following Knight’s initial court appearance Tuesday that she expects he will be charged in connection with 15 to 20 burglaries that were reported to police in recent years. Knight’s next hearing was scheduled for June 11. So far, he has entered no plea on several burglary and theft charges.