Published: Wed, June 28, 2017
U.S. | By Monique Johnson

Montana man is bank robber dubbed 'AK-47 bandit'

Montana man is bank robber dubbed 'AK-47 bandit'

Authorities are now investigating whether Gathercole, who was arrested on June 20 in Nebraska, is the career criminal known as the "AK 47 Bandit".

In a detailed statement a week later on June 27, the Federal Bureau of Investigation pointedly identified Gathercole as the suspected AK-47 Bandit, linked to armed bank robberies from California to Iowa from 2012-15.

A chance encounter at a gas station in Lexington, Nebraska, last week led to the capture of a suspect involved in half a dozen bank robberies and two shootouts with police, with the suspicion furthered after the man made a damning phone call from jail to his mother. Delivered at 11 a.m. Monday-Friday.

The suspected "AK-47 Bandit", wanted in connection with armed bank robberies in five states, has been caught in Lexington in Dawson County. The suspect shot and wounded the officer in Chino while trying to escape. The bank robberies attributed to the AK-47 series began in 2012 when the bank robber shot and wounded a police officer in Chino, California, following a bank robbery. The trooper was not injured.

Authorities found several explosive devices in the home of Richard Gathercole of Roundup, who was recently arrested for allegedly shooting at a Kansas State Trooper and crimes in several other states, said the Musselshell County Sheriff's Office on Monday.

Gathercole was first arrested after an "interaction" with the Musselshell County Sheriff's Department and the Montana Highway Patrol on June 14.

After he was arrested, authorities served a warrant at Gathercole's home in Roundup, Montana, where they discovered a cache of homemade bombs, according to Chino Police Chief Karen Comstock.

Richard Gathercole of Roundup, Montana, was arrested last week in Nebraska, said Stephen Woolery, a special agent in charge at the FBI's field office in Los Angeles.

Over the years, agents have identified some of his trademarks: a black ski mask; dark-colored body armor; a mesh vest with the word "sheriff" printed across the back; and his signature weapon, an AK-47 rifle with a drum magazine, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The discrepancy could not be immediately resolved.

Investigators say Gathercole robbed banks, while armed with an assault rifle, in California, Washington, Idaho, Nebraska and Iowa.

In Mason City, Gathercole was accused of robbing the Heartland Community Credit Union and of using an improvised explosive device to threaten tellers. It is not clear if the homemade bombs taken from his Montana home were of the same type.

Gathercole is being held on state theft and possession of stolen firearms charges in Nebraska, and Woolery said federal charges were pending against him.

One of those may occurred at a bank in Vacaville, California, in 2012.

The "AK-47 bandit" has been linked to several bank robberies and police shootings across the U.S. Musselshell County Attorney Kevin Peterson said that he doesn't now plan to file any local charges against Gathercole in addition to the misdemeanors charged in justice court.

Like this: