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Roundup’s “AK-47 Bandit” sentenced to 35 years for Nebraska bank robbery

Posted: 2:36 PM, Jun 06, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-06 18:21:49-04

LINCOLN, Neb.- A Roundup man dubbed the “AK-47 Bandit” was sentenced Wednesday to 35 years in federal prison for an armed robbery of about $90,000 from a Nebraska bank.

Richard Gathercole, 40, was also ordered to pay nearly $400,000 in fines for his role in the 2014 robbery after pleading guilty in March. He also pleaded guilty to a carjacking related to the robbery, according to court documents.

As part of the plea agreement, federal prosecutors in Kansas, Iowa, Washington and California agreed to drop robbery and other charges against Gathercole for suspected crimes in those states, dating back to 2012.

Gathercole earned the “AK-17 Bandit” nickname because it was his weapon of choice the series of bank robberies he’s accused of committing. In 2012, Gathercole was suspected of shooting a police officer during a bank robbery in California.

The case came to Montana after Gathercole was recorded from a Nebraska jail cell telling a woman to remove guns from his home in Roundup.

Federal agents searched the residence and found seven improvised explosive devices (IEDs), ammunition for handguns and rifles, and books on how to build explosives and on how law enforcement responds to bombing incidents.

U.S. Senior Judge Richard G. Kopf presided over the sentencing.