BUCKLEY, Wash. — When Tyler Smith of Buckley appeared on National Geographic's reality show "Doomsday Preppers" he did so with rifle in hand. Smith, 26, shoots at targets and tests homemade body armor while narrating his exploits for the camera.
Smith is the leader of the survivalist group Spartan Survival. He founded the organization in 2005 to train and prepare others for various doomsday scenarios.
The problem is, Smith is a felon, convicted of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes and theft. He's not supposed to go anywhere near a gun.
"Even if he doesn't own the guns, he can't handle, have those weapons, fire them (or) possess them in any way," said Pierce County Sheriff's Detective Ed Troyer.
After spotting him on Doomsday Preppers, Sheriff's investigators began doing some preparing of their own, getting a warrant for Smith's arrest and picking him up Wednesday morning at a home in Bonney Lake where's he's been staying since he left his farm in Buckley.
"Doomsday Preppers" is a reality show that features people often described as survivalists stockpiling food and firearms, getting ready for the fall of society and a lawless future in which individuals must fight to stay alive.
Smith was prominently featured in a segment that aired in November 2013. On the show, he is seen firing several rifles to test his home made body armor, claiming it is superior to professionally made bullet resistant vests. "It's going to be light weight and stronger that anything you can buy in the store," Smith said on the show.
He also bragged for the camera about his plans to raid and loot other doomsday preppers' supplies when the end times came. "All your shiny AR's your high powered .308 rifles, your 50,000 rounds of ammo are all going to be ours", Smith warned.
Pierce county investigators say it was those claims, and Smith's brazen use of firearms on camera that landed him back in jail. "What led us to this guy was himself. He put himself on TV and in newspaper articles and he did things that scared the neighbor," said Troyer.
Smith is a level one sex offender following his conviction in King county in 2009, but he has not registered with law enforcement since his move to Pierce county. Troyer said he could face an additional charge of failing to register as a sex offender.