In rural Maine, a life of solitude and larceny Police say hermit stole to survive 27 years in woods ← Related Article Visit The Boston Globe Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Comment on this Scroll to top of page Maine State Police/Reuters Christopher Knight, seen in this 2012 surveillance photo, is believed to have committed more than 1,000 burglaries since retreating to the Maine forest almost 30 years ago. Maine State Police/Reuters The 47-year-old told police he had lived undetected in the woods near Rome, not making a single purchase since the mid-1980s. Fred Field “The problem was this guy was a myth and legend for years. No one knew if he was actually real,” said State Trooper Diane Vance, who arrested Knight in April. Kennebec County Sheriff's Office/AP Until his arrest, police had been stymied time and again in their quest to find the elusive North Pond Hermit. Robert F. Bukaty/AP Dave Proulx, who lives on North Pond for part of the year, said he believes Knight burglarized his cottage about twice a year since 1990 — close to 50 times. Glenn Adams/AP He never physically harmed anyone, but his unseen presence frightened children and unnerved adults for years. Fred Field His impact was one of “absolute terror,” said Jodie Mosher-Towle, who sits on the board of the North Pond Association. Robert F. Bukaty/AP Knight’s targets included propane tanks, coolers, rain jackets, food, and even a battery-operated 5-inch television. Robert F. Bukaty/AP “I’d leave him a note: Don’t break in. Just tell me what you need, and I’ll put it by the side of the road,” Proulx said. The hermit never took him up on the offer. Maine State Police/Reuters Vance believes he stayed outdoors year-round, even in the winter, and the trooper said Knight expected to die in the woods.