A 39-year-old man suspected of robbing 6 banks in several states since 2012 appeared in Dawson County District Court Monday in Lexington. Richard Gathercole was apprehended June 20, 2017 at a Lexington truck stop in a pickup reported stolen from Kansas. He is charged in Dawson County with two counts of Possession of a Stolen Firearm and Possession of Stolen Property. Gathercole pled not guilty to those charges and District Court Judge Jim Doyle set a jury trial for September 12, 2017. A pre-trial hearing was also set for August 25, 2017.
Each of the Dawson County charges Gathercole faces carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. But, that may be the least of his worries. Authorities believe Gathercole is the man they called the “AK-47 Bandit” who used an AK-47 rifle in at least 6 bank robberies since 2012. They occurred in Nebraska City, NE., Vacaville, CA, Chino, CA, Sacramento, CA, North Bend, WA and Rexburg, ID.
A search of Gathercole’s Montana home by FBI agents last month turned up bomb-making materials, seven guns and ammunition. Agents also took sheriff’s badges and patches, a sheriff’s vest and an ammunition vest, a military style helmet, an organic chemistry book and material to make identification badges.
At a previous hearing in Dawson County Court, Gathercole waived his right on an extradition request from Kansas where he is suspected of shooting at a Kansas trooper during a traffic stop and eluding him. The trooper was not injured. Gathercole remains incarcerated at the Dawson County Jail in Lexington.