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Friends recall recluse charged with Maine thefts

PORTLAND, Maine — Classmates of a man who is known as the North Pond Hermit and who kept hidden in the woods for 27 years remember him as quiet, smart, and nerdy.

‘‘I remember him always walking the hallways alone,’’ said Albion resident Sue Greeley, one of Christopher Knight’s former classmates at Lawrence High School in Fairfield.

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Greeley told the Morning Sentinel in Waterville that the 1984 graduate had a quiet, bland personality that did not win friends. But she said it did not attract any enemies, either.

‘‘He didn’t do anything to make anybody mad,’’ said Greeley, who remembers Knight as thin, with thick hair, and big glasses, having an interest in computers.

Knight, 47, was arrested after he tripped a surveillance sensor set up by a game warden who long sought a burglar who had been hitting lakeside camps and cottages.He was charged with stealing food from a site on North Pond in Rome, a town of about 1,000 residents whose population swells with summer residents.

The arrest led authorities to Knight’s campsite. State Police said he had committed about 1,000 burglaries for food, cooking gear, sleeping bags, tents, and goods to help him survive. It is unclear why Knight headed for the woods after he graduated.

Another former classmate, Curt Reid, who went on to open a solar film business in Hooksett, N.H., which makes sun-blocking products, said he was shocked to hear that Knight had been arrested. He said Knight was ‘‘a good kid,’’ pleasant, and very smart, though somewhat socially inept.

He remains at the Kennebec County jail in Augusta, held on charges of felony burglary and misdemeanor theft.

Knight has applied for a court-appointed lawyer and has not entered a plea to charges from a break-in at Pine Tree Camp.

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