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‘Doomsday Preppers' reality TV show participant faces gun charge

By Jonathan Kaminsky

OLYMPIA, Washington (Reuters) - Prosecutors charged a participant in the U.S. reality television show "Doomsday Preppers" with unlawful possession of a firearm on Thursday after he was shown firing guns and describing himself as a marauder on an episode that aired in November.

Tyler Smith, 26, was arrested in Washington state at his farm in Buckley, 40 miles southeast of Seattle, on Wednesday, after police ascertained that he was a convicted felon forbidden from possessing firearms, Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said in a statement.

"If you threaten your neighbors and commit a crime on national TV, you're likely to be caught," Lindquist said.

Smith's appearance on the television show, which runs on the National Geographic Channel, showed him loading and firing rifles, creating homemade body armor and making threatening statements that caused fearful neighbors to contact authorities, Lindquist said.

On the show, which features Americans as they prepare for the end of modern civilization and chaos they expect will ensue, Smith explained that he was not interested in stockpiling supplies, but instead in taking them from others by force, Lindquist said.

"There's nothing you can do to stop us. We are your worst nightmare, and we are coming," Lindquist quoted Smith as saying. "We are those people. We'll kick your door in and take your supplies."

Filming of the episode began in March, and it aired on November 12, Lindquist said.

Pierce County Sheriff's detectives investigating Smith found that he had been convicted of theft in 2009 and was for that reason not allowed to possess firearms. A search of Smith's home at the time of his arrest uncovered ammunition and a date-stamped photo of him holding a rifle in 2012, Lindquist said.

Smith pleaded not guilty and his bail was set at $30,000, Lindquist said.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Lisa Shumaker)

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