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Classmates Remember Maine Hermit as Quiet, Nerdy

Portland, Maine — Classmates of a man who’s 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.

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

“He didn’t do anything to make anybody mad,” said Greeley, who remembers Knight as being thin, with thick hair and big glasses, having an interest in computers and being seen by his peers as a nerd.

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

The arrest led authorities to Knight’s campsite. State police and wardens said he had committed an estimated 1,000 burglaries to get food, cooking gear, sleeping bags, tents and other goods to help him survive.

It’s 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., said he was shocked when he heard that Knight had been arrested. He said Knight was “a good kid,” pleasant and very smart though somewhat socially inept.

Former classmate Christina Hobbs said that since Knight’s arrest was first reported, many of her classmates have more questions than memories about Knight.

But one schoolmate said Knight had a chatty side. Todd Dow, who was in the class behind Knight’s, said he remembers Knight as talkative while riding the school bus alongside people who grew up near his home.

Knight remains at the Kennebec County jail in Augusta, held on charges of felony burglary and misdemeanor theft. He has refused requests for interviews, a jail guard said. He has applied for a court-appointed lawyer and hasn’t entered a plea to charges stemming from a break-in at Pine Tree Camp, a facility for special needs people. Attempts to reach people who might be his relatives have been unsuccessful.

Some classmates, concerned about Knight’s well-being when he gets out of jail, have begun a Facebook campaign encouraging their old school friends to send donations to him.

But many victims of the thefts say they’re angry and frustrated he got away with so much.