A 39-year-old man suspected of robbing 6 banks since 2012 appeared in Dawson County Court Thursday on unrelated charges. 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 waived his right to a hearing on the charges. County Judge Jeff Wightman then bound the case to Dawson County District Court with arraignment set for July 24, 2017 at 9:30am.
Gathercole also 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. Following the hearing, Dawson County Chief Deputy Attorney Kurt McBride explained Gathercole was basically saying that “he’ll allow Kansas to come and get him when our charges are completed here.”
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 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.