Investigators hoping to catch cabin burglar through parents
Crime • Court order allows police to track suspect’s phone calls.
Published: February 23, 2012 10:53AM
Updated: February 25, 2012 11:33PM
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Undated photo shows a man walking past a cabin in the remote southern Utah wildness near Zion National Park. Authorities believe the man in the photo, captured by a motion-triggered surveillance camera in December, is Troy James Knapp and that he is responsible for more than two dozen cabin burglaries over the past five years. Courtesy Iron County Sheriff's Office

Finding the mysterious mountain man breaking into southern Utah cabins may now just be a phone call away.

Court documents filed in Utah’s 6th District Court show investigators are tracking any phone calls between Troy James Knapp, 44, and his family living in Moscow, Idaho.

A judge earlier this month allowed investigators to tap the parents’ phone line, documenting the location and duration of incoming and outgoing calls from the number. Those details may allow investigators to pinpoint where and when Knapp makes calls.

Authorities on Tuesday announced they believe it is Knapp who has been burglarizing cabins and outbuildings in Kane, Garfield and Iron counties for the past five years as he roams the southern Utah hills draped in camouflage toting a growing arsenal of weapons. A no-bail warrant has been issued for Knapp’s arrest.

Court documents state Knapp was convicted of burglary in California in 2000 and sentenced to prison and was released on parole in 2002. Knapp told his parole officer in California he would call his mother in Moscow, Idaho, “from time to time.”

After Knapp broke into a cabin in 2009 and left behind fingerprints on a glass window, they were sent to Utah Bureau of Forensic Services, court documents state. During the break-in, camouflage and food were taken from the Zion View Estates cabin in Kane County. In January, Kane County learned the fingerprints matched Knapp’s.

A search of address records show Knapp lived in Washington, Michigan and Salt Lake City and most recently in Moscow, Idaho.

Knapp has been charged in 6th District Court with first-degree felony aggravated burglary, two counts of third-degree felony burglary and one count of third-degree felony possession of a firearm by a restricted person. A search of court records shows Knapp has no other criminal history in Utah.

A phone call and message left with Knapp’s parents was not immediately returned Wednesday.

cimaron@sltrib.com

Twitter: @CimCity