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Mountain man charged with southern Utah cabin burglaries has previous convictions

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 22 2012 3:06 p.m. MST

CEDAR CITY — A man believed to have eluded police for years while breaking into cabins in Kane, Garfield and Iron counties, has been arrested previously in other states.

Tuesday, a new arrest warrant was issued for Troy James Knapp, 44. He was charged in Iron County's 6th District Court with aggravated burglary, a first degree felony; two counts of burglary and one count of possession or use of a firearm by a restricted person, third-degree felonies.

Knapp is charged with breaking into a cabin in Duck Creek, Kane County, in 2009, stealing clothing and food, according to court documents.

The break for investigators came from fingerprints detectives were able to collect off the glass window of that cabin. Those prints were matched to Knapp's criminal file in Inyo County, Calif., where he was arrested for theft in 2000.

After that, investigators were able to get a mug shot and positively match him to two other cabin burglaries in Kane County where wildlife cameras captured pictures of him leaving the cabins immediately after the burglaries.

In yet another Kane County cabin burglary in December in which the suspect's picture was captured by a wildlife camera, investigators were able to match the tattoo on the man's hand to Knapp's documented tattoos.

In one of the pictures, Knapp is seen carrying a rifle over his shoulder.

Over the years, investigators believe Knapp has not only stolen items from cabins for survival, but shot up the inside of cabins, particularly religious-based artwork. They believe he lives in unoccupied summer cabins until the supplies run out and then moves on to the next cabin.

Knapp is still believed to be in the mountainous border area between Kane and Iron counties. Investigators believe he is armed and could be dangerous if threatened. According to court documents, phone tapping and tracing devices have been approved in the investigation.

Knapp has left threatening messages towards law enforcement in some of the cabins he's broken into, according to court documents.

"Gonna put you in the ground!" one message said. While another one, apparently directed more toward the cabin owners, said, "Get off my mountain."

According to his Utah arrest warrant, Knapp has been convicted previously of assault with a dangerous weapon and other burglaries in the past, though court documents do not say from what jurisdiction those convictions were handed down.

Other public records show Knapp was charged with harassment in Seattle in 1997, but the charge was eventually dismissed with prejudice.

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 is 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighs approximately 150 pounds, with hazel eyes and red or auburn hair. He has tattoos on his chest, both arms, neck and the back of his left hand.

Anyone with information can call the Iron Sheriff's Office at 435-867-7550, or 911 if it is an emergency.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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