Published: Wed, June 28, 2017
National | By Rosalie Gross

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

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

Gathercole, 39, is suspected of committing six bank robberies and attempting another in California, Washington, Idaho, Nebraska and Iowa since 2012, Woolery said.

Though the man appeared to be laying low over the past few years - the most recent robbery he is linked to was in July 2015, in Iowa - Comstock said the case remained a priority for the Chino Police Department. Delivered at 11 a.m. Monday-Friday. The officer was seriously wounded but survived.

Gathercole is also accused of wounding a police officer in a shooting after a 2012 bank robbery in Chino, California.

A sheriff's deputy had spotted him pulling off the highway and realized that he and his vehicle matched the description of the assailant who fired on the Kansas trooper the evening before on Interstate 70 near Goodland. The trooper was not injured.

A man known as the "AK-47 bandit" was arrested in Lexington and has been linked to armed bank robberies across the country as well as the shootings of a California police officer and a Kansas state trooper, authorities announced Tuesday. However, authorities from two communities where those bank robberies occurred assisted in the search of Gathercole's home, authorities say.

The statement said Gathercole is a Musselshell County resident.

The application to search Gathercole's home by FBI Special Agent Andrew Ubbelohde details one bank robbery by the "AK-47 Bandit" that FBI officials said was carried out by Gathercole: A 2014 Nebraska City, Nebraska, robbery in which $90,258 was stolen. The discrepancy could not be immediately resolved.

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On June 24, 2017, a federal search warrant was served at Gathercole's residence in Roundup, Montana, by members of the FBI; the Chino Police Department; the Musselshell County Sheriff's Office; and the Rexburg, Idaho Police Department.

Investigators searched the home in the city of Roundup on Saturday and found "numerous" improvised explosive devices.

Richard Lee Gathercole, 39, is being held in Nebraska after a multi-agency investigation tied him to a series of six bank robberies across five states since 2012, FBI and Chino police officials announced in a joint press conference Tuesday. The suspect was armed with an AK-47-style rifle fitted with a large-capacity drum magazine, matching the M.O. of previous bank robberies that the AK-47 Bandit committed.

For years, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents searched for the AK-47 Bandit.

The suspect was taken to the Dawson County Jail on charges of possession of stolen property and possession of a stolen firearm, Reiber said. The same suspect was also linked to an attempted robbery three days prior on March 9, 2012, of the Tri Counties Bank on the 1700 block of Challenge Way in Sacramento, California. He had stolen a truck and guns as he was trying to get away from the Kansas trooper, according to the search warrant application.

District Attorney Mike Ramos said his department intends to file an attempted murder on a peace officer while using a weapon charge on Wednesday.

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