Sheriff Bulletin

New charges filed against elusive Utah cabin burglar

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Another southern Utah county has filed criminal charges against the skilled wilderness survivalist whose random cabin burglaries have vexed police for five years.

The Iron County Attorney on Friday obtained an arrest warrant for Troy James Knapp, charging him with four felony counts of burglary, one felony count of theft and three misdemeanor counts of theft. Iron County jumped on board with Kane and Garfield counties who also have issued warrants against the 45-year-old, bringing the number of outstanding charges statewide against Knapp to 13 felonies and five misdemeanors.

The warrant outlines four reported burglaries between 2009 and 2011 to cabins on Summit Mountain and Cedar Mountain that investigators believe are tied to Knapp. The burglaries fit the profile established investigators from other counties: the cabins were broken into and had been lived in for a period of time. If anything was taken, it was usually food or alcohol. In one burglary, the owner reported that a .22-caliber pistol was stolen along with a Dutch oven.

The owner also told police that someone had eaten some food, burned firewood and washed some dishes, although they weren’t put away.

Iron County deputies found that the fingerprints in each of the burglarized cabins belonging to Knapp, according to court documents. Although Iron County issued its warrant against Knapp on Friday, it is believed that the mountain man began his alleged crime spree there sometime in 2007. A hunter’s remote camera that snapped a photo of him at the scene of a burglary near Zion National Park helped authorities to finally identify Knapp in February.

Knapp has a lengthy criminal record dating back to 1985 when he was charged with breaking and entering and receiving stolen property in Kalamazoo County, Mich. In 1994, he was charged out of Salt Lake County with disturbing the peace, and in 1996 he was charged out of Seattle Municipal Court with harassment. Each charge was later dismissed. According to court documents, Knapp was sent to prison on a burglary conviction in California in 2000 and was paroled in 2002.

Knapp has steadily been moving north through back country wilderness, leaving behind makeshift camps and caches of food and weapons. He was last spotted on Oct. 1 by another surveillance camera in Sanpete County. Law enforcement from Sanpete and Sevier counties, with air support from a Department of Public Safety helicopter, searched in vain for him after that burglary. The U.S. Marshals also have been on his trail for the past few years.

"The defendant’s whereabouts are currently unknown, and law enforcement has reason to believe that the defendant is evading arrest and intending to remain at large for as long as he can," the Iron County warrant reads.

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By Kimball Bennion | The Salt Lake Tribune
[email protected]
Twitter: @kbennion

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