OFF THE GRID
UTAH - Mountain Man - In this undated photo provided by the Iron County Sheriff’s Office in January, a man is seen walking past a cabin in the remote southern Utah wilderness near Zion National Park. Authorities believe the man in the photo, captured by a motion-triggered surveillance camera sometime in December, is a suspect responsible for more than two dozen cabin burglaries over the past five years.
He’s eluded authorities for more than five years, a mountain man who roams the wilderness of southern Utah, breaking into remote cabins in winter, living in luxury off hot food, alcohol and coffee before stealing provisions and vanishing into the woods.
Investigators have clawed for clues, scouring cabins for fingerprints that match no one and chasing reports of brief encounters only to come up short, always a step behind the mysterious recluse.
They’ve found abandoned camps, dozens of guns, high-end outdoor gear stolen from the homes and trash strewn around the forest floor.
But the man authorities say is armed and dangerous and responsible for more than two dozen burglaries has continued to outrun the law across a swath of mountains not far from Zion National Park. He’s roamed across 1,000 square miles of rugged wilderness where snow can pile 10 feet deep in winter.
And while there have been no violent confrontations, detectives say he’s a time bomb. Lately he has been leaving the cabins in disarray and riddled with bullets after defacing religious objects, and a recent note left behind in one cabin warned, “Get off my mountain.”
"You wouldn’t want to come across that guy," said Iron County Det. Jody Edwards, who has been working the case since 2007.