Alleged 'AK-47' bandit arrested in south-central Nebraska


The transcript of the call between Gathercole and a relative, who is unnamed, was submitted to a judge by federal officials seeking a search warrant for the Roundup home.

But agents said the explosives and guns found in Gathercole's Roundup residence, which authorities were alerted to by a jail call from Gathercole to his grandmother, were the same types of weapons used in the bank robberies.

A similar explosive was removed from the trunk of the auto Gathercole was driving when authorities say he fired on the Kansas trooper with an AK-47 rifle. After fleeing the area, he crashed his vehicle, then stole a truck from a nearby farm and drove to Nebraska, investigators say.

Based on a variety of factors, to include the description of the suspect and evidence found, investigators suspect that Gathercole may be responsible for the series of six bank robberies linked to the AK-47 Bandit.

FBI officials in Los Angeles confirmed that the search was connected to a bank robbery investigation. He has been linked to armed robberies from California to Iowa over the last five years, including one in which an officer was shot and severely wounded.

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Richard Gathercole, 39, was arrested on June 20, a day after trying to shoot a Kansas state trooper who was pulling him over because of an obscured numberplate. Authorities say he fired at the trooper with an assault rifle. The trooper wasn't injured.

This tipped off federal agents and police who raided Mr Gathercole's home in Montana and found a stash of homemade bombs, court documents filed this week said.

Gathercole was arrested in Nebraska last week after he allegedly fired several shots from an AK-47 rifle at a Kansas trooper during a traffic stop.

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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A jailhouse phone call transcript shows that Gathercole asked a relative to clear his Montana home of guns after his arrest.

Gathercole is being held in Nebraska on charges of theft and possession of stolen firearms.

The AK-47 bandit is known to wear a balaclava mask with an AK-47 rifle during the robberies.

In the affidavit, Ubbelohde also ties Gathercole to at least two bank robberies linked to the AK-47 Bandit.

The search warrant application did not describe other "AK-47 Bandit" robberies.

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Gathercole was arrested in Musselshell County for alleged drunk driving exactly one week before his arrest in Nebraska, but authorities said Gathercole was mostly compliant during that arrest.