SEATTLE, WA – On July 6, 2017 a federal Grand Jury in Seattle indicted Richard Lee Gathercole, 39, the suspected “Ak-47 Bandit”, on one count of bank robbery and one count of possession of a weapon in furtherance of a crime of violence, related to the July 6, 2012 robbery of a bank in North Bend, WA.
Gathercole, of Roundup, Montana, was apprehended by the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office in Nebraska after a high speed chase starting in Kansas on June 19, 2017. A federal search warrant was conducted on June 24, 2017 at Gathercole’ s residence in Roundup, Montana, 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 located 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 used to flee some of the robberies. Based on these and other factors, investigators believe that Gathercole is responsible for the bank robberies attributed to the AK-47 Bandit series.
The AK-47 Bandit series includes these robberies: February 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); November 7, 2012, in Rexburg, Idaho (East Idaho Credit Union); August 22, 2014, in Nebraska City, Nebraska (First Nebraska Bank); and July 28, 2015, in Mason City, IA (Heartland Community Credit Union). There was also an attempted robbery on March 9, 2012, in Sacramento, California, 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).