After more than five years of eluding state authorities, it was an idle boast that led to the capture of Troy James Knapp, the "mountain man" loner accused of burglarizing dozens of cabins across southern Utah.
When a group of antler-hunters encountered the grizzled fugitive last Friday on a trail near Ferron Mountain, he told them he was a "mountain man." The hikers, having only ever heard of one shady looking mountain man in their part of Utah, ID'd Knapp and immediately alerted police. From there, police followed his tracks in the snow for two days—discovering more break-ins along the way—before springing their trap. At least 40 officers from 12 public agencies were involved in the capture, surrounding him while helicopters provided eyes in the sky.
The well-armed survivalist fired his rifle at one of the helicopters before running down the mountain and encountering officers on foot. Heading the other way, he ran into more and realized he was surrounded. Knapp, long considered armed and dangerous by authorities, then aimed his rifle at a local sheriff, who fired at him.
That was the end of the stand-off. Knapp threw down his rifle, put up his hands and surrendered, putting an end to the years-long manhunt. Knapp was wanted in two states. He violated parole on a California burglary conviction as far back as 2002, and no sign of him was seen until 2007, when Utah law enforcement officials began investigating a string of remote cabin burglaries. In all, police say he’s responsible for as many as 30 burglaries in Utah, and he’s wanted in three counties for 13 felonies and five misdemeanors.
Cabin owners and other backcountry users are no doubt relieved he's in custody. Knapp stole guns from many of the cabins he burglarized, and left note threatening both homeowners and police. There's no official word yet regarding Knapp's bail situation, but we're guessing it probably won't be granted.
To learn more about Knapp and his arrest, check out this Salt Lake Tribune story.