Utah’s Mountain Man Burglar Arrested and Charged

Posted by , , at 7:58 am

Every year I read thousands of burglary reports and articles, but a few stand out for being highly unusual – and today I’ll share one of them. Oddly, there is a recent similar story from the other side of the country, which is particularly intriguing – but I’ll save that one for a later post. In this story, the intruder was not just a serial burglar: he was a survivalist, living off the land and from whatever he could steal from remote mountain cabins and homes in central Utah for years. Now he’s behind bars, as described in this report from Utah’s Emery County.

In the end, the long-elusive loner known as Utah’s “Mountain Man” proved a very talkative fellow. When a group of people looking for shed antlers on central Utah’s Ferron Mountain saw the bearded man Friday, he told them he was a “Mountain Man,” Emery County Sheriff’s officials said in a press release Tuesday. It turned out Knapp wasn’t exaggerating his identity.


The 45-year-old wilderness survivalist, charged with burglarizing multiple cabins in several Utah counties, had eluded law enforcement for more than five years before revealing his identity, perhaps inadvertently, to the antler hunters, who reported the sighting to police. From there, Emery County deputies followed his tracks for several days — discovering at least two new cabin burglaries along the way — until Knapp wandered into the Ferron Reservoir area of Sanpete County.

Burglar Shot at Police to Evade Arrest

By Monday, authorities had traced Knapp to the remote, snow-covered area near 9,000 feet elevation, and quickly launched a plan to nab a fugitive they considered dangerous. When helicopters arrived about 10:10 a.m. Tuesday, pilots spotted Knapp outside Ron Bartholomew’s cabin chopping wood. Knapp fired at one of the helicopters hoping to drive away police, said Sevier County Sheriff Nathan Curtis. Then he took off running down the mountain — until he ran into a group of police. Then he ran back up the mountain — and into a second group and realized he was surrounded, Curtis said. Knapp then pointed his weapon at Emery County Sheriff Greg Funk, who fired at him, Curtis said. Only then did Knapp, who was uninjured, throw down his rifle, ending a years-long manhunt.

Police React

Garfield County Sheriff Danny Perkins said he’s relieved and delighted that the man believed responsible for 20 to 30 burglaries in his county since 2005 is in custody thanks to the combined efforts of 40 officers from 12 public agencies. “We’ve been worried about what Mr. Knapp is capable of doing,” Perkins said. “It’s a public safety issue. It’s a relief that he’s in custody.”

Long Criminal Record

Knapp has a lengthy criminal record dating back to 1985 when he was charged with breaking and entering and receiving stolen property in Kalamazoo County, Mich. In 1994, he was charged in Salt Lake County with disturbing the peace, and in 1996 he was charged in Seattle Municipal Court with harassment. Each charge was later dismissed. According to court documents, Knapp was sent to prison on a burglary conviction in California in 2000 and was paroled in 2002.

I’m going to assume that at least some of these 20 – 30 cabins and homes had electricity, which is really all you need to support an up-to-date alarm system: especially one based on safer cellular monitoring, where no phone is required (and there’s no phone line for a burglar to cut). Does this article strengthen the case for monitored home security as a way to protect your home and family? You bet it does. You deserve your peace of mind. We already know that a home (or second home or cabin) protected by a monitored alarm system is only a third as likely to suffer an intrusion, so it just makes sense.

FrontPoint is on the case with systems that are safer, smarter, simpler, and more affordable. As the leader in wireless home security and the #1 rated alarm company in the US, FrontPoint takes residential intrusion very seriously, whether it’s the usual random offense by an amateur burglar, or one of a string of break-ins committed by the survivalist serial burglar described above. Either way, you want the odds on your side.

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