UPDATE: ‘Mountain man’ cabin burglar captured

Surveillance footage from a cabin the 'mountain man' allegedly burglarized, December, 2011 | Photo courtesy of the Iron County Sheriff's Office

MANTI – Authorities have captured the elusive “mountain man” believed to be responsible for a series of cabin burglaries in southwest Utah.

The Iron County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Troy James Knapp, 45, was taken into custody Tuesday at 10 a.m. near Ferron Reservoir in Sanpete County.

In a press conference held Tuesday afternoon, Sanpete County Sheriff  Brian Nielson told media that law enforcement had been tracking Knapp’s whereabouts. Over 40 officers were involved in a manhunt for Knapp after hunters encountered the man and in turn contacted the authorities.

Knapp was located in a cabin he had broken into when a helicopter zeroed in on his position. Nielson said the man shot at the helicopter multiple times and ran. However, after encountering more officers on the ground he surrendered.

Knapp realized he was “severely outgunned” and outnumbered, Nielson said.

“All of us are a lot safer because he’s in custody,” the sheriff added.

The search for Knapp involved officers from Beaver, Utah, Iron, Sevier, Kane and Garfield counties, Utah Public Safety, Adult Probation and Parole and U.S. Marshals.

Knapp is described as a survivalist who is believed to have burglarized dozens of cabins in southern and central Utah for at least seven years.

In December 2011 the Iron County Sheriff’s Office was able to obtain surveillance footage and fingerprints that eventually helped lead authorities to the mountain man’s identification.

Before his arrest, the last reported sighting of Knapp was in Sevier County in October 2012. A multicounty task force of sheriff’s deputies, along with the Joint Criminal Apprehension Team, searched the area where Knapp was last seen, but only came across the man’s suspected wilderness hideouts. Knapp was nowhere to be found at the time.

According to a statement from the Iron County Sheriff’s Office, Knapp “is believed to have broken into summer cabins during the winter, living off whatever supplies were inside, and then living in remote mountainous areas during the summer.”

Law enforcement also cautioned the public that Knapp was to be considered armed and dangerous while still at large.

The Iron County Sheriff’s Office statement continues:

The mobile Knapp is accused of breaking into a cabin in Duck Creek, Kane County, in 2009, stealing clothing and food, according to court documents. He is believed to have spent most of the summer of 2012 in the Fish Lake area of Sevier County.

Knapp has also left threatening messages for law enforcers in cabins that he is accused of breaking into, such as: ‘Pack up and leave, get off my mountain.’

In 1986, he was incarcerated in Michigan for convictions of breaking and entering and receiving stolen property, according to a records search. Knapp briefly had a listing of a Salt Lake City address in 1999.

He reportedly has family living in Michigan and Moscow, Idaho. His Idaho home was listed in public documents as his primary residence as recently as November of 2011, but authorities don’t believe he has actually lived in Idaho for many years. He is believed to have lived in northern California before moving to Salt Lake City and then dropping off the radar.

Knapp currently faces the following charges across three counties:

In Fifth District Court in Iron County, Knapp is facing:

  • Four counts of burglary, a second-degree felony
  • Theft, a second-degree felony
  • Three counts of theft, a class B misdemeanor

All charges are for incidents spanning June 2009 through September 2011.

In Sixth District Court, he is facing six charges out of Garfield County:

  • Four counts of burglary, a second-degree felony
  • Two counts of theft, a class B misdemeanor

These counts originate from incidents between February and June 2012

In Kane County, Knapp has been charged with:

  • Aggravated burglary, a first-degree felony
  • Two counts of burglary, a third-degree felony
  • Purchase, transfer or use of a firearm by a restricted person, a third-degree felony

These incidents stem from a December 2011 incident.

Knapp is currently being kept in the Sanpete County jail.

Note: Persons arrested are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Surveillance footage from a cabin the 'mountain man' allegedly burglarized, December, 2011 | Photo courtesy of the Iron County Sheriff's Office
Surveillance footage from a cabin the ‘mountain man’ allegedly burglarized, December, 2011 | Photo courtesy of the Iron County Sheriff’s Office

[email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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  • San April 3, 2013 at 11:41 am

    This piece of dirt is the single reason I rethought my stance on conceal and carry. I don’t appreciate the threat of being burglarized but the thought of walking into my home (or out to my car) and finding someone there is enough to make me lock and load. I hope he never gets out.

  • Utah Injury Attorney April 3, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Congratulations to San Pete County Sheriff! Hopefully he’ll be locked up for a long, long time!

    • My Evil Twin April 4, 2013 at 9:55 am

      Well now, isn’t that interesting. I tried to click on your comment, and was taken off this sight and to an advertisement for your firm. Now you being a big lawyer and all, I’m sure it is perfectly legal. But is it ethical? I don’t believe so. Just another gimmick to get a bit of “free advertising.”

      • Joyce Kuzmanic April 4, 2013 at 10:39 am

        Thanks for the heads up, My Evil Twin – we’ll check it out. We don’t invite free advertising, it is disrespectful to those who engage us directly. 😀

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