Montana man being investigated by FBI as possible “AK-47 Bandit”

Posted at 9:56 AM, Jun 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-26 11:56:59-04

Authorities found several explosive devices in the home of Richard Gathercole of Roundup, who was recently arrested for allegedly shooting at a Kansas State Trooper and crimes in several other states, said the Musselshell County Sheriff’s Office on Monday.

Authorities are now investigating whether Gathercole, who was arrested on June 20 in Nebraska, is the career criminal known as the “AK 47 Bandit.”

The AK 47 Bandit has been wanted by federal authorities since 2012 for a series of robberies carried out with an AK 47 assault rifle in North Bend, WA, Vacaville, CA, Chino, CA, Sacramento, CA, Rexburg, ID and Nebraska City, NE.

During the robbery in Chino, the suspect shot a police officer. The officer survived.

The robber, who committed the robberies while wearing tactical gear, was never caught and the FBI was offering a $100,000 reward for the man’s arrest.

Over the weekend, the Musselshell County Sheriff’s Office assisted the FBI, Chino California Police Department, and Rexburg (Idaho) Police Department in executing a search warrant at Gathercole’s residence in Roundup.

Several Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) were found in the home, and the Billings Police Department bomb squad was called in to remove the IEDs, according to a Musselshell County Sheriff’s Office press release.

Gathercole was arrested last week near Lexington, Nebraska, for allegedly shooting at law enforcement in Sherman County in Kansas.

At the time of his arrest, Gathercole was in possession of a stolen pickup truck.

The alleged shooting at a Kansas State Trooper happened exactly one week after Gathercole was arrested in Musselshell County for a traffic offense. He made his initial appearance in justice court and posted bail, according to the Sheriff’s office.

Gathercole is in police custody and authorities do not believe there is any danger to the community.

The investigation is continuing, and additional information will be provided by the FBI, according to the Musselshell County Sheriff’s Office.

The Chino Police Chief and Rexburg Police Chief were not immediately available for comment.

We will update you as we get more information.