A Fountain police officer who appears in a reality TV show about Colorado gem hunters found himself in a mountain of trouble Tuesday.
Daniel Barkus, 33, was arrested by El Paso County sheriff's deputies on suspicion of stalking after an unidentified man reported a "possible harassment" near 810 Crystal Park Road near Manitou Springs about 10:30 p.m.
After conducting an investigation, deputies identified Barkus as the suspect and determined there was probable cause for the charge of stalking, a felony, according to the sheriff's office.
Deputies located Barkus close by in his vehicle a short time later and placed him under arrest. He was booked into the El Paso County jail in lieu of a $2,000 bond.
Sheriff's spokesman Lt. Jeff Kramer declined to provide additional information about the allegations against Barkus, saying parts of the investigation are still active.
"We're not releasing anything else at this point," Kramer said Wednesday.
Barkus, who worked as a police officer for the Town of Fairplay for about five years before resigning to join the Fountain Police Department about eight months ago, could not be reached for comment. Barkus did not return a message left with his mother, and no one answered the door at his home near Security.
Amanda Adkins, Barkus' ex-girlfriend and a star of The Weather Channel's "Prospectors" TV show, said the charge against Barkus is a big misunderstanding.
"He's no criminal," said Adkins, a former model who now works full-time as a miner.
Adkins said Barkus went to one of her small-scale mining claim areas on U.S. Forest Service land and encountered one of her new employees, who was on-duty and knew of Barkus but had never met him in person.
"The first time they met was at night, and that's just not good when you're guarding a mining claim," she said.
"I think they kind of startled each other and just had a confrontation, but it was not a bad one. It was just words. Just verbal," she said.
Adkins said she pulled up the scene shortly after the confrontation and that they were able to resolve it, which is why she couldn't understand why Barkus was arrested.
"I've known Daniel for years, and he's a wonderful person. He'd give the shirt off his back for anybody," she said. "You don't hardly meet guys as good as Daniel. He really didn't deserve this. This was blown out of proportion just because he's a cop, and I really feel like just because he has a badge, he got unfairly targeted."
Fountain Police Chief Todd Evans said Barkus was placed on paid administrative leave.
"Police officers are not immune to having to deal with the justice system, and officer Barkus is going to have to go through that system," Evans said. "He's afforded his due process just like anyone else is. And he will be held accountable just like anybody else. After judicial review, he will be held accountable here as well."
Evans said Barkus requested permission to appear on the TV show while off duty.
"In our view, it was no conflict of interest with law enforcement," said Evans, who hasn't seen the show. "If they have all those cop shows out there, it would be tough for us to tell somebody they couldn't be shown prospecting."
Contact Daniel ChacOn: 476-1623 Twitter @danieljchacon Facebook Daniel Chacon