ROME, Maine (WCSH) -- He was a mythical figure known as "The Hermit of North Pond."
The myth became reality when he was caught red handed during a burglary attempt at the Pine tree Camp in Rome.
It is hard to believe that anyone in this day and age could drop out of society, have virtually no human contact, live alone in the wilderness and go undetected for 27-years. But investigators say that's exactly what 47-year old Christopher Knight did. They say if you met him, spoke with him and saw the makeshift camp where he had been living then you would believe it. When wardens and police arrived at that camp site they were blown away by what they discovered.
"It's like their jaws hit the floor, wow. It's surreal, he's surreal, the situation is surreal", said Maine State Trooper Diane Perkins-Vance.
He told police the only person he had contact with in more than two decades was a hiker he came across on a trail back in the 90's. Investigators say he survived on the food he stole from camps and kept his mind active with the books he would take during those break-ins. They believe Knight is responsible for a thousand or more burglaries over the years. As he continued to elude police his legend grew.
When Game Warden Terry Hughes caught the Hermit of North Pond red handed inside the Pine Tree Camp in Rome last week, he says it was unlike any adrenaline rush he's ever had.
"It's been a myth, this character, this folklore person who is known as the hermit, who we've all known about. We have pictures of him, we couldn't identify him. This unknown suspect who moved around in society and burglarizes camps", Hughes said.
Investigators say surprisingly Knight was in good health, both mentally and physically. He is being held at the Kennebec County Jail on theft and burglary charges.