Wylie Newton charged with stealing antique gun from museum, trying to sell it on TV

Thieves dispensing with stolen goods typically do so quietly, outside the public eye. But if Wheat Ridge Police are right, Wylie Newton is a different breed.

Newton is accused of stealing an antique pistol from a New Mexico museum, then trying to sell it on a reality TV show.

The gun in question is a Colt Dragoon black powder revolver that dates to the 1800s and is valued at $20,000, according to the Wheat Ridge Police Department. It was stolen from a private museum in New Mexico last December.

That same month, a man identified as "Wylie" popped up in an episode of American Guns, a Discovery Channel program filmed at Gunsmoke Guns in Wheat Ridge.

The show focuses on owner Rich Wyatt and his "typical suburban family," as well as customers at the shop. During the sequence in question, "Wylie" tries to sell a pair of museum-quality black powder revolvers.

An American Guns viewer who the WRPD describes as being familiar with the investigation into the gun theft at the museum subsequently contacted New Mexico authorities -- and earlier this year, they, in turn, reached out to officers in Wheat Ridge.

The cops eventually tracked down Newton in his hometown of Erie and set up a sting operation. Last week, undercover detectives portraying themselves as buyers traveled to Erie and made an offer to buy the gun. But rather than ponying up cash, they paid Newton back by arresting him on a New Mexico warrant.

Newton, who's 64, was jailed at the Jefferson County Detention Center -- an experience that may not have been wholly new to him. According to the Denver Post, he's got a slew of prior arrests, including assault and intimidating a witness.

Next stop: New Mexico, where he may make future TV appearances -- on the nightly news. Here's a larger look at Newton's mug shot.

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More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Badges, guns, Taser stolen during burglary of Boulder deputy."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
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