More charges against Utah mountain man fugitive
Thursday , June 13, 2013 - 3:31 PM
SALT LAKE CITY — A fugitive captured after a series of cabin break-ins in the Utah mountains has been charged in yet another county.
Southern Utah’s Garfield County filed new charges this month accusing Troy James Knapp, 45, of burglarizing a cabin in 2009 and again in 2012. Garfield County becomes the fifth Utah county to charge Knapp, known to many as the “Mountain Man.” He had previously been charged with about 30 burglary-related felony and misdemeanor charges filed against in four southern Utah counties.
He is being held in Sanpete County, where he was arrested on April 2 after being on the loose for six years.
In the first break-in in Garfield County, police say Knapp just cooked some beans and left a note in the cabin log, the owner told police. It said: “Thanks for the hospitality, Troy James the red head.”
After the second break-in 2012, the cabin owner found a window broken and a .45-caliber handgun missing. Police say the gun is worth $1,200. They believe Knapp stole the gun.
Authorities say the description of the Garfield County break-ins matches the manner in which Knapp burglarized dozens of other cabins across southern Utah over a six-year period.
Knapp was in court Wednesday for procedural hearing in Sanpete County, where he has been held since his April 2 arrest. He’s set to appear again in court on July 10.
Knapp was taken into custody in the snowy mountains outside of Ferron in central Utah in April. After tracking him by snowshoes for three days, dozens of officers converged on him in snowmobiles and a snowcat, flushing him out of the cabin. He fired several shots at officers and a helicopter, and tried to flee on snowshoes before being caught.
He was captured in an area about 180 miles north of the site where detectives believed he was a year ago.
Knapp is suspected of leaving some cabins riddled with bullet holes, defacing religious icons and writing taunting notes. Police say he had a fondness for whiskey and disliked people.
Records indicate Knapp fell off the radar in 2002 when he apparently left California in violation of his parole for a burglary conviction. He had been charged with theft in 2000 in California, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years in prison, according to records.
In 2007, southern Utah authorities began investigating a string of cabin burglaries they believed were tied to one person. Over the years, detectives found unattended summer camps stocked with dozens of guns and stolen, high-end outdoor gear.
It wasn’t until early 2012 that investigators identified Knapp as the suspect from cabin surveillance photos and videos.