February 23, 2012

Police identify elusive mountain criminal

The Associated Press

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This undated file photo provided by the Iron County Sheriff's Office in January, shows a man who authorities on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012 identified as Troy James Knapp, walking past a cabin in the remote southern Utah wildness near Zion National Park. Authorities say Knapp, captured by a motion-triggered surveillance camera sometime in December, has been linked to more than two dozen cabin burglaries over the past five years. (AP Photo/Iron County Sheriff)

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While there have been no violent confrontations, detectives have called him a time bomb. Over the years, he has left some cabins tidy and clean, while others he has practically destroyed, even defecating in a pan on the floor in one home.

Lately, he has been leaving the cabins in disarray and riddled with bullets after defacing religious icons, and a recent note left behind in one cabin warned, "Get off my mountain."

In a Jan. 27 court filing, Kane County authorities said Knapp had left behind even more threatening notes aimed at law enforcement.

"Hey Sheriff ... Gonna put you in the ground!" one note said.

From the beginning, the suspect's lore grew, leading to theories that he might have been two separate men on the FBI's most-wanted list or possibly a castaway from the nearby compounds of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the polygamous sect run by jailed leader Warren Jeffs.

They now have a name, but the man remains in the mist.

"He's scaring the daylights out of cabin owners. Now everyone's packing guns," said Jud Hendrickson, a 62-year-old mortgage adviser from nearby St. George who keeps a trailer in the area. "We feel like we're being subject to terrorism by this guy."

 

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