Friday, April 05, 2013

The elusive Mountain Man

Big news out of my home state of Utah this past week is the capture of the so-called “Mountain Man.” Troy James Knapp has been living a half-dozen years in the mountains of Central Utah, going from cabin to cabin during the winter months, stealing food, clothes and guns. He has been spotted by the occasional surveillance camera during his forays, but still managed to stay a few steps ahead of the authorities.

Caught by camera.

There’s an old saying, “it’s better to be lucky than good,” and that seemed to sum up Knapp’s criminal career in the Utah mountains until this past Tuesday. His luck ran out.

After his capture Knapp claimed to a sheriff that he was a “Robin Hood,” because he stole from people who were rich enough to afford it. One of those cabin owners he victimized saw him on television wearing a jacket stolen from his cabin. He told the sheriff he wanted it back, and the sheriff told him it stunk because Knapp stunk. A few years without a bath will do that to a guy. The cabin owner reportedly decided to leave the coat and take the loss.

Adding to his list of felonies and misdemeanors is a charge of firing at a helicopter and pointing a weapon at a local sheriff.

The nature of people is to root for the underdog. I’m sure there were Knapp fans who wanted him to stay ahead of the law, just as there were people who approved of Dillinger robbing banks or O.J. murdering his wife. Knapp is not a nice guy. The 45-year-old Knapp has been in and out of trouble since he was 18, and spent time in prison in Kalamazoo, Michigan for breaking and entering. He also spent time in Seattle where he was arrested in 1996. When he worked in Salt Lake City in the early ‘90s he was abusive to his girlfriend, whom he threatened to kill. Fearing for her safety she left him. According to the quotes in a copyrighted story by Kimball Bennion in today’s Salt Lake Tribune, the ex-girlfriend told Men’s Journal online about Knapp: “He was a heavy-drinking, pot-smoking, conspiracy-theorist ex-con . . . I thought I could help him. It’s the same thing you read in the paper right before they tell you where she died.” I wish all women who tie up with men like Knapp were as smart as her.

Knapp where he belongs.

Knapp is exulting in his celebrity, talking to some about his life on the run, but his 15 minutes of fame will come and go quickly. Perhaps this time his stay in prison will be long enough that for a couple of decades he will not be a menace to society.

1 comment:

Kirk said...

Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor. Looks like Knapp just gave to himself.

Of course, if he himself was poor...