Despite being deep in the woods at nature-drenched camp, Sergeant Hughes went to great lengths to create the perfect trap to capture the person behind the crimes. Cameras, silent military-grade motion sensors and industrial-grade floodlights were installed in every spot on the grounds that had items to steal— especially food.
The camp had already suffered from the culprit’s late-night snack attacks, so a motion sensor with a silent alarm was installed in the kitchen. When the thief was last there, many items were stolen, including the kitchen’s spare key. Sergeant Hughes knew the criminal would be back. Now all he had to do was wait.
n the night of April 4, 2013, an alarm at the home of Sergeant Terry Hughes started going off. That meant that someone was in the kitchen of the summer camp. It was installed in the back of an ice machine. Hughes raced to the scene, expecting to find a burly criminal, possibly with weapons; At the very least, he could have expected a ragged homeless person, just desperate for food.
Peeking into the kitchen through a window, Hughes discovered the person was nothing he imagined. He was clean and well dressed. His smooth face meant he had recently shaved. He was even a bit overweight. Who was this thief, who seemed to be just a regular, middle-aged man? The sergeant knew now was the time to pounce.
As the mysterious man walked out of the dining hall, carrying a full backpack of food, Sergeant Hughes blinded him with a huge flashlight, holding a gun in the other hand. He yelled at the man to “get on the ground.” And surprisingly, the intruder followed the orders instantly.
As the man kneeled down, pieces of candy fell all over onto the ground. A state trooper, Officer Diane Perkins-Vance, was already at the scene, and the two cops handcuffed the suspect to a chair. He didn’t put up a fight. They now noticed his pale skin and dated glasses. He had no ID and refused to answer questions at first. Slowly, he began to reveal his unbelievable story.
It took two hours until the man finally opened up enough. Officer Perkins-Vance asked why he wouldn’t answer her questions. He said that he was “ashamed”. Soon he revealed his name, though: Christopher Thomas Knight. Occupation? Nothing. Address? The woods. Could things get any stranger?
The big shock came when asked how long he had been living in the woods. He had no sense of time but remembered that the Chernobyl disaster happened right before he went into the woods. That meant he began living in the woods in 1986. What made this normal-looking man retreat to a life of solitude and theft in the woods? And how did he even survive out there for 27 years?
Christopher Thomas Knight was born on December 7, 1965 in Albion, Maine. He was always a loner from the time he was born. His family wasn’t so different. “I had good parents” he recalled. “We’re not emotionally bleeding all over each other. We’re not touchy-feely. Stoicism is expected.” People puzzled him; he struggled to relate to others beyond a basic level.
As a young man, Christopher kept to himself and to stay busy with the things that mattered to him most. But as odd as he might have seemed to others, no one expected him to cut himself off completely from the world.