A Montana man who kept homemade explosives in his house and is charged with shooting at a Kansas state trooper, is exposed as a bank robber the FBI dubbed “the AK-47 bandit”.
There are also speculations that Montana man carried out at least six banks robberies in five states, authorities said Tuesday.
Richard Gathercole of Roundup, Montana, was caught by the police last week in Nebraska, said Stephen Woolery, a special agent at the FBI’s field office in Los Angeles.
Gathercole, 39, is accused of robbing six banks and attempting to rob another banks in California, Washington, Idaho, Nebraska and Iowa since 2012, Woolery said.
FBI officials have been pursuing a man they dubbed the “AK-47 Bandit,” who reportedly covered his face a balaclava mask and held an AK-47 rifle with a drum magazine during the crimes.
Investigators speculate the Gathercole’s first robbery was on Feb. 29, 2012, in Chino, California.
After robbing the California Bank & Trust, Gathercole, shot Chino police officer AK-47 rifle, said Chino Police Chief Karen Comstock. The officer shot, however, was seriously wounded, but has recovered and got back to his work, Comstock said.
Likewise, Gathercole was arrested after he opened fire at a Kansas state trooper who was pursuing him and attempted to arrest him over last week. The trooper wasn’t wounded.
Call To Mom
Gathercole, apparently, had made a jailhouse phone call to his mother, asking her to take all the weapons and homemade explosives out of the house. Investigators carried out a search in the suspect’s house in the town of Roundup, Montana, about 50 miles (80 kilometres) north of Billings, on Saturday and found “numerous” bombs, authorities said.
Gathercole is charged with state theft and possession of stolen weapons charges in Nebraska, and Woolery said federal charges were still pending against him.
Prosecutors in San Bernardino County, California, said they tended to bring a charge of shooting a peace officer against Gathercole in 2012.