When it comes to firearms and the law, there's no distinction between reality television and, uh, reality.
That's what a Colorado man discovered last week after he appeared on the taping of a television program and was seen in possession of a museum-grade collectible firearm that was subsequently identified as stolen.
As a result, Wylie Gene Newton of Erie, CO, has been charged with stealing a highly collectible 1850s-era Colt Dragoon blackpowder pistol from a private museum in New Mexico in 2011 and trying to sell it on the Discovery Channel's reality show, "American Guns," in December.
Acting on a tip from a volunteer at the New Mexico museum who recognized the gun and the alleged thief, undercover detectives with the Wheat Ridge Police Department met with Newton on May 10 and offered to purchase the gun, leading to his arrest.
Jim Gordon, the private collector who runs the museum near Santa Fe, NM, said Newton made several visits there around the time the pistol went missing, and even signed the guest registry using his real name.
"I was amazed primarily at his stupidity for going on television with a stolen object," Gordon told an Albuquerque television station this week.
Newton, 64, is awaiting extradition at the Jefferson County (CO) Detention Center on a warrant from New Mexico.
On the episode, which takes place at Gunsmoke Guns in Wheat Ridge, Newton is seen trying to sell two guns, including the vintage Colt revolver. He tells the store's owner and show's star, Rich Wyatt, that he has fired the rare gun, estimated to be worth in excess of $20,000.
"What's the point in having a gun if you can't shoot it?" Newton states as the cameras roll.
Something tells us Newton's days of owning and shooting firearms are long gone.
The Denver Post reports that Colorado court records show Newton has been arrested in the past for assault, DUI, obstruction of justice, intimidating a witness and other charges.