Law enforcement officials in Utah are searching for a man with ties to Inyo County who they say may be armed and dangerous.
Troy James Knapp, 44, has been identified as a long-sought suspect in the burglaries of more than two dozen remote cabins in the wilderness near Zion National Park.
Knapp’s story is reminiscent of the infamous Ballarat Bandit of Inyo County, who eluded police for years while preying upon the campsites and remote dwellings in small, southeast Inyo County and western Nevada towns.
Officials with the Iron County Sheriff’s Department in Utah have been searching for the burglar for more than five years, and say that, until recently, they had no idea who the mysterious mountain man was.
A recent video of an alleged burglary, as well as fingerprints gathered at the scene of a crime, led authorities to identify Knapp as the prime suspect.
Knapp was arrested on charges of felony burglary in Inyo County on Sept. 25, 2000. He was later convicted of stealing from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power yard in Independence, the Inyo County Solid Waste facility and the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery in Independence.
If Knapp is the same individual being sought in Iron County, he has changed his tactics.
The Iron County Sheriff’s Department said the man they believe to be Knapp is a reclusive survivalist who lives off the land in the remote wilderness of Southern Utah.
Law enforcement has been able to track the alleged burglar’s movements, and locate a number of summer camps he has kept stocked with guns and supplies.
Each time authorities located a camp, however, it appeared to be abandoned.
Authorities believe Knapp is still roaming and living off of more than 1,000 square miles of wilderness, but have contacted a number of known family members and acquaintances in case he is reaching out to them. Most claim they have had no contact with the suspect.
said Great Basin has taken a general stance that all archeological sites on the lake should be avoided if possible.
Knapp has been known to use summer camps, and hunker down in remote cabins in the winter time. Generally, the cabins are stripped of food and fire wood, but left undamaged.
However, recently, law enforcement have been locating vandalized cabins, some with threatening notes geared towards the cabin’s owner or law enforcement.
Before investigators identified Knapp, rumors and speculation abounded as to who the mysterious burglar could be. Some held to the belief that he was possibly a castaway from fundamental or radical religious sects along the Utah and Arizona border.