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Utah survivalist "Mountain Man" captured after standoff

Troy James Knapp, known as the "Mountain Man," is taken into custody by Sanpete County sheriffs in this April 2, 2013 handout photo, after b
Troy James Knapp, known as the "Mountain Man," is taken into custody by Sanpete County sheriffs in this April 2, 2013 handout photo, after b

By Laura Zuckerman

(Reuters) - A fugitive survivalist known as the "Mountain Man", wanted by authorities for allegedly breaking into several Utah cabins over six years, has been arrested following a gunfire exchange at a remote cabin in central Utah, police said.

Troy James Knapp was taken into custody on Tuesday after some 60 federal and state law enforcement officers surrounded the cabin where he had holed up near a mountain reservoir about 125 miles south of Salt Lake City, Emery County Sheriff's Sergeant Bliss Mead said.

Knapp, who was wanted in connection with a series of burglaries of unoccupied cabins in resort communities in the rugged high country of southern and central Utah, will also face charges for shooting at police, Mead said.

In addition to the thefts, often of firearms, he is accused of threatening a local sheriff in an area of southern Utah called Cedar Mountain.

Authorities descended on the cabin after a group of people looking for antlers shed by deer encountered Knapp in the back country of central Utah. Law enforcement officials traveled by helicopter and snow machines through deep snow to reach the cabin.

Knapp fired at officers in the air and on the ground during a standoff that began about 4 a.m. and ended with his arrest some six hours later when he tried to escape on snowshoes, Mead said.

"Once he saw how many of us were there, he stopped dead in his tracks and threw his hands up in the air," he said.

Knapp, 45, had evaded capture for six years while living off the land, according to authorities. He had been dubbed the "Mountain Man" and likened to 19th century American frontiersman Davy Crockett by law enforcement officials and locals for his outdoor skills and hardiness, and for often out-maneuvering police on foot in rugged terrain.

Authorities in Iron County, where several of the alleged thefts had occurred, said the break-ins mostly happened in winter, when the frigid weather and deep snow drove Knapp indoors in search of food, equipment and guns.

Those weapons were collected in what Iron County Detective Sergeant Jody Edwards said last year there were "doomsday stashes" in camps Knapp established in the woods.

Knapp survived by running trap lines, shooting squirrels and trekking across hundreds of miles of harsh terrain, authorities said.

(Editing by Dan Whitcomb)

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