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Elusive 'Mountain Man' was paranoid, detailed, police say

'I got out ... quick,' chopper pilot says after shots were fired at him

Published: Wednesday, April 3 2013 12:50 p.m. MDT

He tried to avoid one group of officers. But as his attention was diverted to those deputies, another group came up behind him. At that point, Curtis said, Knapp threw down his rifle and surrendered.

"I was talking to some of my deputies who were among the first group on him, and (Knapp) was telling them, 'Good job, you got me,'" Curtis said. "They said he was an interesting person to talk to."

In subsequent interviews with Knapp, they learned that he had a good memory of what he had been doing while on the run.

"He had a lot of detail. He could remember where he had been and which paths he had took to get into those cabins and where he was going, and that was really interesting," Curtis said Wednesday.

Paranoia

Investigators also learned that Knapp had very paranoid tendencies.

"What he told our officers is he would go to the door (after breaking into a cabin) and he'd keep listening. He'd get up every once in a while and go to the door and listen for engines," he said.

It was that paranoia, however, that possibly helped Knapp avoid being caught in Theresa Abrams' cabin last year. Abrams lives in North Las Vegas but has a cabin in Hatch, Garfield County. Authorities believe Knapp lived in her cabin for about five weeks in April and May of last year.

"Food was stolen, clothes were stolen, the fingerprints were his all over everything — coffee mugs, dishes, plates. He wrote all over books we had, he had pulled out music we hadn't listened to in years and put it in the CD player. He had been watching TV, he had been sleeping on our bed. He pulled an old heater out from downstairs and placed it upstairs where he ate his dinners at the dining room table," she said.

Abrams said she and her husband arrived at their cabin late one night, found food was out and the back door open.

"We apparently walked in on him and scared him off that particular night, and that's when the sheriff came up the next day," she said.

No Limbaugh fan

The intruder got into Abramses' cabin by breaking a small hole in a window and unlocking the latch, she said. The book he wrote in was Rush Limbaugh's "I Told You So."

"Obviously the guy didn't like Rush Limbaugh because he drew pictures on Rush Limbaugh and wrote things like, 'I'm a scumbag,' 'I'm a dirt bag,' things like that, stupid 6-year-old humor," Abrams said.

Abrams said she and her husband were never afraid of going to their cabin. She half-jokingly said they were just angry that they weren't the ones who caught him.

Other cabin owners, including Oscar Hulet, admitted they had been a little more on edge.

"Knowing that he had looked though every door, every closet. … The ladies didn't want to go to the cabin without a handgun," he said.

Curtis spoke with one cabin owner in the Duck Creek area who was very nervous while Knapp was still on the run.

"He said, 'I didn't feel like I could go out on my porch at night because he might be watching me through his rifle scope.' I told him I didn't think he would come to your cabin if you were there, he'd avoid you. He said it didn't matter. It was knowing that he was out there and had been in the cabins near mine that made him nervous," the sheriff said.

In some cabins, Knapp actually put dishes away after using them. In other places, he ransacked the cabins, according to Curtis.

Ron Bartholomew, who owns a cabin in the area where Knapp was arrested, was particularly surprised Tuesday when he saw photos of deputies arresting the man.

"It's our cabin he's been into, because he's got my jacket on," he said, adding that he was anxious to check on the condition of the cabin and see if anything else had been taken.

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