WASHINGTON — Police in the far northeastern state of Maine have arrested a loner who vanished from sight in 1986 and survived by stealing supplies from area camps, local media reported Thursday.

Christopher Knight, the 47-year-old man locals called the “North Pond Hermit”, was arrested last week and charged with burglarising an unoccupied camp near the town of Rome, the Portland Herald Press reported.

Knight reportedly confessed to police that he was responsible for some 1,000 burglaries over the years, but said he took only what he needed to survive.

Maine State Trooper Diane Perkins-Vance was one of the troopers who arrested Knight on April 4. “He said he just came into the woods one day in 1986,” Perkins-Vance told the Kennebec Journal on Tuesday.

“He claims he hadn’t had a conversation with another human being since the mid-1990s, when he encountered someone on a trail.” Knight was caught after police set up surveillance gear at a site they believed he would target. Knight is being held on charges of burglary and theft at the Kennebec County Jail on $5,000 cash bail, the Herald Press said.