Tuesday, 22 August, 2017

Bombs found in Montana home linked to bank robberies

Man who shot at Kansas trooper and had bombs in Roundup home may be linked to bank robberies 'AK-47 Bandit' robberies: Bombs found in home of man possibly linked to string of heists, cops say
Francis Olson | 28 June, 2017, 19:31

Stephen Woolery, special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Los Angeles, said Tuesday that Richard Gathercole of Roundup, Montana, was arrested last week in Lexington, Nebraska.

A jailhouse phone call transcript showed Gathercole asked his mother to clear his home of guns after his arrest. After fleeing the area, he crashed his vehicle, then stole a truck from a nearby farm and drove to Nebraska, investigators say.

"With his increasingly brazen and extremely risky tendencies, we knew it was just a matter of time before he would strike again", she said during Tuesday's press briefing.

Chino Police Chief Karen Comstock discusses the arrest of Richard Lee Gathercole, 39, of Roundup, Montana, who is suspected of being the "AK-47 Bandit", during a press conference at the Chino Police Department in Chino, CA., Tuesday, June 27, 2017. Investigators believe that he is the AK47 Bandit, according to the...

Soon after the call was made, authorities executed a search warrant at Gathercole's home, where they found a cache of weapons, including those that matched the description of the ones used in six bank robberies.

The earliest robbery investigators have been able to tie Gathercole to occurred February 29, 2012, at the California Bank & Trust in Chino.

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In Mason City, Gathercole was accused of robbing the Heartland Community Credit Union and of using an improvised explosive device to threaten tellers. Gathercole is in jail in Nebraska and is accused of shooting at a Kansas state trooper with an AK-47 rifle a week ago. The trooper was not injured.

The Los Angeles Times reported investigators were tipped to search Gathercole's home after he was heard asking his mother whether she had removed "all the guns" from the residence during a call from the Nebraska jail in which he's being held.

Federal authorities said Monday that they believe the man known as the "AK-47 bandit" has been arrested. Another deputy was called for backup and Gathercole was taken at gunpoint into custody without further trouble, Dawson County Sheriff Gary Reiber said.

The AK-47 bandit was also possibly linked to a bank robbery in Sacramento Calif. on March 9, 2012, and three days later, in Vacaville, Calif., on March 12. 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.

Investigators say Gathercole robbed banks, while armed with an assault rifle, in California, Washington, Idaho, Nebraska and Iowa. It's unclear whether he was being represented by an attorney.

Billings Police recovered several improvised explosive devices in Roundup at the resident of Richard L. Gathercole, who was arrested on suspicion of shooting at a trooper in Kansas Monday. 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.

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