2001 city council candidate Knapp sought on ID theft charges

Mark Knapp, an environmental activist who once ran as a Green Party-endorsed candidate for a seat on the Minneapolis City Council, is being sought by authorities on a federal arrest warrant after he skipped a court date in Oregon.

Knapp is charged with aggravated identity theft. U.S. Postal inspectors in Oregon say he illegally obtained two credit cards by fraudulently using a Minnesota man's 's identity. Court documents say he used one card to charge more $10,000 in goods and services, and used the other to buy more than $42,000 in gold coins.

Knapp's trail appears to have led authorities back to Minneapolis. Kingfield resident Ken Avidor, once a friend of Knapp's, said police, including at least one U.S. Marshal, interviewed him at his house on Monday morning about Knapp's whereabouts.

"I want to make it clear, I want to see this guy arrested," said Avidor, an graphic artist who works as an illustrator at City Pages. "I didn't know he had this secret life."

A spokesman for the Marshal service in St. Paul on Tuesday said he couldn't comment on an ongoing investigation and would neither confirm nor deny the visit.

Knapp was arrested in July after a search of his Corvalis, Ore., apartment uncovered $68,400 in gold coins, as well as credit card statements and mail in other people's names, the Corvalis Gazette Times reported. He was later released, and then failed to appear for an Oct. 30 hearing in U.S. District Court in Eugene, Ore.

Avidor said Knapp contacted him not long ago, told him of the charges and read him the contents of the warrant.

"I told him to get a lawyer and do exactly whatever the lawyer told him to do," Avidor said. "I told him, 'I don't want to hear from you again until you get this sorted out.'"

Knapp ran unsuccessfully for the Ward 10 seat on the Minneapolis City Council in 2001 as a Green Party candidate, placing third in the primary election.

In his campaign biography, he says he was part of a 1986 group that worked to prevent a nuclear waste facility from being located in rural Maine, and that he later worked on the cleanup of the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons facility outside of Denver, Colo. After his time in Minneapolis, he moved to Corvalis, where he became known as an anti-growth proponent.

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