SALT LAKE CITY – With the summer tourist season fast approaching, authorities are stepping up the search for a mountain man considered armed and dangerous who has spent more than five years breaking into dozens of cabins across remote southern Utah, stealing guns and supplies before retreating into the forest.
Investigators believe the suspect is still roaming the mountains around Zion National Park based on recent cabin break-ins where food and clothing were taken, Kane County Sheriff’s Detective Dathan Chamberlain said Wednesday.
Detectives have alerted Zion rangers and are distributing wanted posters and warning cabin owners to be on the lookout for the man, identified in February as Troy James Knapp based on fingerprints lifted from one cabin and surveillance photos taken outside another.
Authorities say Knapp could be traversing the national park, following rivers, using pay phones, or even riding the park’s shuttle buses to stock up on food in a nearby town.
Knapp’s father, Bruce, had little to say when reached by telephone Wednesday at his home in Moscow, Idaho. “If he’s doing something criminal, he should turn himself in,” Bruce Knapp said.
Authorities say Knapp’s family hasn’t been helpful in their investigation, and in February they obtained a court order to track phone calls made to his parents.
An arrest warrant issued by Kane County in January charges Knapp with three burglaries and a weapons charge.
While there have been no violent confrontations, authorities fear Knapp is a ticking time bomb. He has left some cabins riddled with bullet holes, defaced religious icons and wrote taunting notes for cabin owners and lawmen.