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Troy James Knapp is the name of the mysterious mountain survivalist

Posted on February 22, 2012 at 8:30 PM


An ‘armed and dangerous’ mountain recluse allegedly responsible for more than two dozen cabin burglaries in the wilderness has finally been identified by police after eluding them for half a decade.

 

Troy James Knapp, 44, has only just been identified three years after his fingerprints were lifted from holiday homes near Zion National Park in the Utah wilderness - and now police have to catch him.

 

Authorities have compared Knapp to Davy Crockett, the 19th century Tennessean survival expert known as 'King of the Wild Frontier', and he remains somewhere in 1,000 sq miles of wilderness.



Knapp is a virtual ghost in the woods, stocked with stolen gear, food and guns. Authorities have so far revealed little about him or how he ended up wandering the mountains of southern Utah.

 

Knapp has family members in Moscow, Idaho, but they have not commented. Just last week, Iron County detectives said investigators hadn't made a definite identification but were getting close.

 

However, court records indicate charges were filed against Knapp in neighbouring Kane County about three weeks ago on January 27 as the key suspect in the serial burglaries.

 

Knapp's fingerprints from one cabin in 2009 were allegedly matched last month to a 2000 theft arrest in California. He was convicted previous on charges of assault with a weapon and burglaries.



‘This guy is probably about as true a survivalist as Davy Crockett,’ U.S. Marshal Michael Wingert said, addingKnapp ‘dropped off everybody's radar in 2003 and nobody has heard from him since’.


‘He just dropped off the face of the earth,’ Supervisory Deputy Wingert added, speculating Knapp was ‘fed up with civilisation.’ He faces counts of burglary and a weapons charge.

 

The Iron County Sheriff's Office said public tips and forensic evidence linked Knapp to the crimes. ‘This suspect is known to be armed and could be possibly dangerous if cornered,’ a spokesman said.

 

The spokesman added that his identification was the result of ‘good old-fashioned investigative work, along with tips provided by the public.’ ‘We believe Mr Knapp is our guy,’ Mr Wingert said.

 

Iron County Sheriff's Detective Jody Edwards said last week investigators were scouring for clues but getting close after they got the first pictures of the suspect from a CCTV camera outside a cabin.

 

The photos taken in December showed a sandy-haired man in camouflage on snowshoes, a rifle slung over his shoulder. Detective Edwards has been working on the case since 2007.

 

Knapp has allegedly eluded capture for five years, breaking into cabins in winter, living off hot food, alcohol and coffee before stealing provisions and vanishing away with guns and supplies.



Cabin owners are panicked. Many said theywere carrying their own guns and had grown to wonder who might be sleeping in their beds during winter.


‘He could stand in the trees and pop you off and no one would know who killed you,’ cabin owner Bruce Stucki said last week. When alerted of the latest news, a relieved Mr Stucki said: ‘Wow.’

 

‘That's wonderful that they know him,’ Mr Stucki added. ‘Now they need to get him in custody.’

 

From the beginning, the suspect's lore grew, leading to theories that he might have been two separate men on the FBI's Most Wanted List.

 

It was even suggested he could be a castaway from nearby compounds of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the polygamous sect run by jailed leader Warren Jeffs.

 

Early on, investigators thought his unattended summer camps they came across during their search were left behind by ‘doomsday’ believers preparing for some sort of apocalypse.

 

This was because of the remote locations and supplies like dozens of guns, radios, batteries, dehydrated food and camping gear. They now have a name, but the man remains in the mist.

 

‘He's scaring the daylights out of cabin owners. Now everyone's packing guns,’ said Jud Hendrickson, 62, a local mortgage adviser. ‘We feel like we're being subject to terrorism by this guy.’


Source


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7 Comments

Reply Jason
3:44 PM on March 27, 2012 
I ran into this guy 9 years ago while camping near Bryan Head. We happened to roll up late at night and set up camp 100 yrds from his. After building a fire, he came out of the woods and sat down at our fire. He talked about killing cows and how he wanted to hurt the local sherrif. One of the women in our group walked away from our camp in the opposite direction and was terrified of the guy. I'll admit after sitting w/ him for about 20 minutes I started to curl up and just watch the fire and him out of the corner of my eye. He is not a pleasant person to be around and carries a very dark energy. He then bid us good night. We all conversed and decided it was not good for us to stay there that night. We then noticed that he had taken our hatchet and replaced it with his hat. After packing up in a matter of minutes and getting the hell out of there we questioned why he would leave his hat. The only thing we could think of was that it gave him a reason to come back. I'm glad we listened to our gut that night. It might have been someone in our groups last.
Reply southernutah
4:36 PM on March 21, 2012 
I live at the bottom of Cedar Mountain. A few weeks ago they were searching for him in the mountains right by my house. 10-15 of neighbors have reported seeing him (as you see him in the picture) wandering through their yards. I don't know if it was strategical or just bad investigating but every single one of those neighbors called the authorities and no one came out and took a statement or checked the neighborhood. The neighbor right next door to me said his kids were sledding down the hill and a guy was up the hill a little ways watching them. This is all here-say but when they did do that search they found one of his make-shift camps. Whether or not he is dangerous, it is still very scary to think this guy is just roaming around. About two blocks away is an abandoned hospital and I don't know if they have checked that out or not but that would be a perfect hold-up spot for him with this terrible weather. Also, the night after they did the search (and a helicopter was circling) we had a terrible snow storm and could have easily been spotted if he were to make a fire. I really do hope he is caught and soon just so that I know that an armed guy isn't wondering through my back yard.
Reply Cathar Solus
9:58 AM on March 19, 2012 
I beg to differ that this guy is some sort of survivalist. What he really is, is the rural version of an urban burglar and thief. Every piece of gear and every scrap of clothing you see on his person has been stolen from someone's cabin. Every bite of food he eats comes from the same source. In the winter he lives in these cabins to beat the weather. If he were a true "survivalist" he'd be living off the land and standing on his own two feet materially speaking. He's nothing but a thug and most certainly doesn't deserve the title of survivalist.
Reply Alphabrit381
10:47 AM on February 28, 2012 
Borison says...
@alphabrit -- Alphabrit, I retract the insults I just hurled at you, I apologize as they were uncalled for and you do seem a decent sort, perhaps I misunderstood you, but I want to stress the fact that this person has no care for anyone but himself and would rob your house blind if he had the chance, so you should be wishing the law enforcement agencies well instead of him. Cheers and sorry again.

@Borison, I can understand how my post could ruffle you feathers. I certainly don't agree with any criminal actions by Knapp but I do hope that he is apprehended with no fatalities and gets a fair trial and the psychological help he appears to need. In my younger days I thought the police were always 100% right and the suspect always 100% wrong. I learned that it's not that clear-cut. I've seen -and worked with- many dishonest and abusive police officers. I just hope that Knapp is given a chance to surrender peacefully and is convicted of only the crimes he did commit. Like one of the locals mentioned, some of the snowmobilers have been known to raid the cabins in that area. It sounds like society may have let Knapp down early in life, but I know when you're a victim of a B&E or assault that doesn't mean squat. Again, I understand why my post would anger you; I was just trying to keep it short. No hard feelings.
Reply Borison
7:36 PM on February 27, 2012 
@alphabrit -- Alphabrit, I retract the insults I just hurled at you, I apologize as they were uncalled for and you do seem a decent sort, perhaps I misunderstood you, but I want to stress the fact that this person has no care for anyone but himself and would rob your house blind if he had the chance, so you should be wishing the law enforcement agencies well instead of him. Cheers and sorry again.
Reply Borison
7:32 PM on February 27, 2012 
Alphabrit381 says...
If you look at the photo of the suspect's weapons, the long pistol with brown handgrips at the top of the picture appears to be a Crosman model 1377 .177 caliber airgun. With ten pumps it shoots pellets with a muzzle velocity of ~600 feet per second. Capable of killing small animals and a weapon of choice for many survivalists. Thought it was pretty cool that Knapp had one. I hope things turn out OK for the guy, he's had a pretty rough time.


He's had a pretty tough time? He has been breaking into people's homes -- You know, assumingly decent folk who work and pay taxes and generally try to contribute -- and shitting on the floor, stealing their guns... And you hope things turn out okay for the guy?? What the hell is wrong with you? You might harbor these fantasies about escaping from society and pillaging the land, and if so you are a moron who needs to re-evaluate what you have taken from society and what you still owe to it -- Fact of the matter is you're a grumpy old fart on a website wishing a criminal and possible psychopath "well." Fucking dumbass you are, you can't make this up I swear.
Reply Alphabrit381
4:16 PM on February 26, 2012 
If you look at the photo of the suspect's weapons, the long pistol with brown handgrips at the top of the picture appears to be a Crosman model 1377 .177 caliber airgun. With ten pumps it shoots pellets with a muzzle velocity of ~600 feet per second. Capable of killing small animals and a weapon of choice for many survivalists. Thought it was pretty cool that Knapp had one. I hope things turn out OK for the guy, he's had a pretty rough time.

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