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AK-47 suspect indicted in NebraskaTell North Platte what you think

A federal grand jury in Nebraska indicted Richard Lee Gathercole, the suspected “AK-47 Bandit,” on Tuesday.

Gathercole, 39, is charged with on one count of bank robbery, one count of possession of a weapon, one count of transporting a stolen vehicle across state lines and one count of transporting stolen firearms across state lines in furtherance of a crime of violence, related to the Aug. 22, 2014 bank robbery, in Nebraska City, (First Nebraska Bank) and the criminal events leading to his arrest on June 19.

Gathercole of Roundup, Mont. was apprehended by the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office in Nebraska after a high-speed chase starting in Kansas, where he evaded authorities on June 19. He was caught at a truck stop at the Lexington I-80 interchange.

A federal search warrant was conducted on June 24 at Gathercole’s home in Roundup, Mont. by members of the FBI; the Chino Police Department; the Musselshell County Sheriff’s Office; and the Rexburg, Idaho Police Department.

During the search, investigators found several pieces of evidence they believe were used in the commission of the various bank robberies related to the Ak-47 series.

In addition, Gathercole is known to have access to vehicles that match the description of the vehicles he used to flee some of the robberies.

Based on these and other factors, investigators believe Gathercole is responsible for the bank robberies referred to the AK-47 Bandit series.

“We are grateful for the diligent work of our law enforcement and prosecution partners in Nebraska and around the United States that are working collaboratively to ensure justice is carried out in this case,” said Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Omaha Division, Randall Thysse.

The AK-47 Bandit series includes these robberies:

• Feb. 29, 2012, in Chino (California Bank & Trust);

• March 12, 2012, in Vacaville, California (Bank of the West);

• July 6, 2012, in North Bend, Washington (Chase Bank);

• Nov. 7, 2012, in Rexburg, Idaho (East Idaho Credit Union);

• July 28, 2015, in Mason City, IA (Heartland Community Credit Union);

• July 6, 2012, robbery of a bank in North Bend, Wash.

There was also an attempted robbery on March 9, 2012, in Sacramento, Calif. at the Tri-Cities Bank.

Due to the various crimes alleged and jurisdictions involved at various levels of government, investigators continue to consult with prosecutors regarding applicable charges.

The investigation of the AK-47 Bandit bank robbery series is being conducted by the Chino Police Department; the Rexburg Police Department; the Musselshell County Sheriff's Department in Montana; the Seattle Safe Streets Task Force; the King County Sheriff’s Office in Washington; the Vacaville Police Department; the Sacramento Police Department; the Nebraska City Police Department; the Greater Omaha Bank Robbery Task Force; as well as FBI Field Offices that cover each of the jurisdictions where robberies occurred (FBI Los Angeles; FBI Sacramento; FBI Seattle; FBI Omaha and FBI Salt Lake City).


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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 8/22/2017
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