Augusta, Maine is receiving national attention for man who has been arrested for committing multiple burglaries and thefts. Known as the North Pond Hermit, Christopher T. Knight has been living alone in the woods North and East and Little North ponds for the past 27 years. He is believed to have committed up to 1,000 theft crimes in order to acquire the food and other necessities that he needed to live by taking items from campsites and a local summer camp.
But instead of prosecuting him like a regular criminal, he is being encouraged to plead guilty to the charges so that he can enter a special court program. The program would allow him to avoid a jail sentence and work on treating him for alcohol abuse while he is given a chance to live and work in the community. Police discovered that alcohol was one of the items that Mr. Knight took, although it does not appear that he obviously has a drinking problem.
While treating people who are struggling with addiction is important, that does not appear to be the case here. In his living area, Mr. Knight was also found to have:
propane tanks, sleeping bags, books, batteries, coolers, food, jewelry, a wallet, camping gear, medical supplies and alcohol.
Police also say he exercised restraint in his choice of alcohol, choosing some brands of beer but passing over others. When you compare his results to others, it does seem that he may be receiving special treatment; perhaps because of the added media attention.
For example, a woman involved in a single burglary with four other people where they broke into a convenience store and stole lottery tickets was just sentenced to 9 months in jail and two years of probation for her crime. When this sentence is compared to the sentence Mr. Knight is receiving for his 1,000 burglaries, you may begin to see the injustice of the situation.