Crime • Sanpete charges don't mention Knapp allegedly shooting at DPS copter.
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Sanpete County joined the list of Utah jurisdictions that have filed criminal charges against the alleged Mountain Man cabin burglar, whose six-year run of solitude in Utah's mountains came to an end with his arrest Tuesday.
The Sanpete County Attorney's Office on Thursday charged Troy James Knapp in 6th District Court with a total of six felonies and five misdemeanors. Knapp is accused of three counts of second-degree felony burglary; theft by receiving stolen property, a second-degree felony; use of a firearm by a restricted person, a third-degree felony; third-degree felony criminal mischief; three counts of class B misdemeanor theft and two counts of criminal mischief, also class B misdemeanors.
The charges filed Thursday do not address the crimes he allegedly committed Tuesday, when police say he fired a rifle at a Department of Public Safety helicopter and pointed the weapon at Emery County Sheriff Greg Funk, one of about 50 law officers who converged on Knapp near Ferron Reservoir.
The charging documents state that Knapp, 45, committed the offenses between Oct. 1 and Oct. 10, 2012.
A probable-cause statement filed Thursday cites an Oct. 2 complaint from the owner of a cabin in Fairview Canyon that had been broken into. Sanpete sheriff's Deputy Justin Aagard inspected the cabin and found an upstairs bedroom had been inhabited. There wasn't any sign that anything had been taken, but it looked as if someone had rummaged through dresser drawers, and a closet door was broken.
Although the burglar cut most of the wires to the cabin's surveillance system, footage from one camera's backup memory showed a man with a rifle slung over his shoulder who matched Knapp's description, including the distinctive tattoos on his neck and left hand.
The next day, officers from Sanpete, Sevier and Iron counties and the Department of Public Safety searched the area, including by air with a DPS helicopter, but found nothing.
After Knapp's arrest on Tuesday, Aagard spoke to Knapp, who allegedly told him he remembered the cabin and that he cut the wires to the cameras before breaking one of the side windows to get inside.
Knapp also told Aagard that he took food and a knife from the cabin, according to the affidavit. The knife was still in Knapp's possession when he was arrested. Knapp also allegedly said that the rifle he had with him at the time was from a cabin burglary in Iron County "a few years back."
Knapp is also allegedly responsible for a break-in at a second cabin in Fairview Canyon. The owner reported on Oct. 13 that a box of rifle ammunition, two boxes of Hamburger Helper, four cups of noodles, a pair of pliers and a flashlight were missing. Knapp allegedly admitted this week to stealing food from the cabin.
In 2012, Iron, Kane and Garfield counties filed their own burglary-related charges against Knapp. As of Thursday, Knapp had 19 felonies and 10 misdemeanors mostly burglary and theft filed against him.
Court records associated with Thursday's filing do not indicate a court date for Knapp or whether he has been assigned a lawyer. A call placed with Sanpete County Attorney Brody Keisel was not immediately returned Thursday.
Utah authorities have tied Knapp to a long list of burglaries of vacant seasonal cabins throughout much of southwest and central Utah.
Knapp has a criminal record dating back to his teenage years, when he lived in Kalamazoo, Mich. In 1986 at age 18 he was sentenced to prison in Kalamazoo County on charges of breaking and entering and receiving stolen property.
In 1996, he was arrested in Seattle on a harassment charge after he allegedly threatened a store owner who told him to stop a shoplifter. That charge was eventually dropped.
But Knapp also has ties to Utah from long before his alleged crime spree.
An article published online by Men's Journal reports that in the early 1990s, Knapp briefly lived with a girlfriend in Salt Lake City, where he had a job at The Pie pizzeria. The girlfriend, Brett Griffiths, told Men's Journal that Knapp was abusive and would threaten to kill her. She eventually left him, fearing for her safety.
"He was a heavy-drinking, pot-smoking, conspiracy-theorist ex-con," she told the magazine. "I thought I could help him. It's the same thing you read in the paper right before they tell you where she died."
Soon after the relationship ended, Knapp reportedly stole a pickup and drove to California's Death Valley. In 2000, he was arrested after allegedly stealing property and breaking into government-owned buildings while hiding out in the mountains near Bishop, Calif.