ROME, Maine — A man who lived like a hermit for decades in a makeshift camp in the central Maine woods and may be responsible for widespread thefts of food and other staples has been captured, authorities said.
Christopher Knight, 47, was arrested last week when he tripped a surveillance sensor set up by a game warden while stealing food from a youth camp in Rome, State Police said in a court affidavit.
On Tuesday, authorities found the campsite where they believed Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit in local lore, has lived for 27 years.
Residents of the town with a year-round population of about 1,000 say they have been aware of the hermit for years, often in connection with break-ins that have occurred.
Some have spotted him walking along the side of the lake known as Great Pond, and others have seen his living quarters, which include a tent covered by tarps suspended between trees, a bed, propane cooking stoves, and a battery-run radio.
‘‘Anybody that’s hunted in the woods has seen a pile of rubble but didn’t think anything of it,’’ Ron Churchill, owner of Bear Spring Camps in Rome, said Wednesday.
Employees who maintain his camp’s lakeside cabins have seen the man thought to be the hermit in the past.