Elusive 'Mountain Man' spotted in Sanpete County, police say
, Sanpete County Sheriff
FAIRVIEW, Sanpete County — An elusive fugitive known as the "Mountain Man" has apparently moved north into Sanpete County.
New evidence suggests Troy James Knapp, 44, was in Fairview Canyon as recently as a week ago. Just last month, based on photographs from hunters in addition to a dozen new cabin burglaries, police believed Knapp had moved into the Seven Mile/UM Creek area near Fish Lake in Sevier County.
Now, for the first time, law enforcers have surveillance video of the man accused of breaking into winter cabins, using up supplies and stealing firearms during the past seven years.
In the new video, Knapp can been seen putting a pair of binoculars to his eyes, apparently looking for an alarm system. Still acting nervous, and with a rifle visible on a sling over his shoulder, Knapp waves his arms, trying to check for a motion sensor, before moving out of frame and allegedly breaking into a cabin near Gooseberry Reservoir.
The Sanpete County Sheriff's Office and the Utah Highway Patrol conducted an intensive search for Knapp a week ago. But like many other prior searches by other law enforcement agencies, they did not find him.
With the elk hunting season under way and soon the deer hunt, authorities fear Knapp will be able to blend in with hunters while carrying his rifle and have an easier time moving around.
In February, law enforcers were finally able to identify Knapp because of fingerprints and a photograph taken by a wildlife camera. An arrest warrant was subsequently issued in Iron County's 6th District Court charging him 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 also accused of breaking into a cabin in Duck Creek, Kane County, in 2009, stealing clothing and food.
Investigators believe, however, the survivalist may be responsible for more than two dozen cabin burglaries.
In addition, Knapp is believed to be the one leaving messages for outdoorsmen and law enforcers alike. Next to a wildlife camera that captured photos of Knapp in Sevier County last month, for example, police believe Knapp was the one who wrote the words, "Pack up and leave, get off my mountain," in the dirt. Similar messages have been found near cabins in Kane and Iron counties.
In June, investigators believe a Sevier County resident came face-to-face with Knapp in a remote region of the county. When the resident asked the man what his name was, he simply said, "The Mountain."
Detectives believe Knapp is carrying at least one rifle and one handgun and strongly encourage citizens not to confront him. If possible, Curtis said, the public should take a photo and note the GPS coordinates of his location, and turn that information over to police.
Knapp is 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighs 160 pounds and has blue eyes and red hair typically cut very short. He had a goatee the last time he was spotted, according to law enforcers. Knapp is known to carry a backpack, a rifle over his shoulder, and dresses in camouflage. He has tattoos on his neck, chest, both arms and the back of his left hand.
Anyone with information on Knapp is asked to call their local sheriff's office.
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