Living In The Woods For Decades, Hermit Accused Of Robbing Residents

Robberies have plagued residents of a small Maine town, with rumors that hermit living in the woods was the culprit. In fact, a man who spent decades living the woods faces charges in court. He has pled not guilty. INSIDE EDITION has the details.

For three decades it's been a puzzling mystery. Rumors of a mysterious figure living deep in the woods of Maine. He's never been seen. So how do people know he exists?

David Prou and his wife, Louise, say they've been robbed every year, going back all the way to 1990.

"My neighbor got broke into probably 40 times," said Prou.

And they aren't the only ones. Vacation home owners all along the picturesque lake have reported break-ins. They say he took pots and pans, food and batteries and even a portable TV.

Louise said, "Having him break into our house all these times, you just have an eerie feeling that you're being invaded."

They named the mystery burglar "The Hermit." But who was he? What did he look like?

Then, one neighbor installed an alarm system with a surveillance camera and sure enough, they caught the hermit stealing food from a walk-in freezer.

He's 47-year-old Christopher Knight, and he really has been living on his own in the woods for 27 years.

Knight appeared in court where a judge asked, "How do you plead?"

"Not guilty," stated Knight.

Knight led cops to his secluded camp, stocked with all the things they say he stole over the years.

Since his capture, the locals have not stopped taking about the hermit.

He inspired a folk song and a sandwich at Big G's Deli in Winslow, Maine. The menu listing says: "made with all locally stolen ingredients."

Big G's owner, Gerry Michaud said, "He did what is almost impossible—survived by himself in the Maine wilderness."

He even made it through the bitter Maine winters when temperatures plummeted to a bone-chilling minus 25 degrees.

So, how did Christopher Knight become a hermit?

He was 19 years old when he walked into the woods and dropped out of society. No-one reported him missing and no-one ever went looking for him. He told cops he just wanted to be alone.

Some are comparing Knight to Boo Radley, the recluse from the classic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Knight now faces burglary charges. But even the local District Attorney, Maeghan Maloney, has a certain regard for the mysterious hermit.

Maloney said, "We all have those days where we think it would be better if we could just escape to the woods and be by ourselves. So, he speaks to a little piece inside of everyone."