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'AK-47 bandit,' suspected of Mason City bank robbery, could face up to 35 years in prison

Richard Gathercole

Gathercole is suspected of robbing the Iowa Heartland Credit Union in Mason City in 2015.

Posted: Mar. 12, 2019 9:43 AM

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A Montana man dubbed the AK-47 bandit and accused of holding up banks in several states has pleaded guilty to robbing a bank in Nebraska.
Richard Gathercole could face up to 35 years in prison after admitting Monday in federal court that he used an AK-47 to rob a Nebraska City bank in 2014. The 40-year-old Gathercole also pleaded guilty to a 2017 carjacking that led to his arrest.
Gathercole is suspected of robbing the Iowa Heartland Credit Union in Mason City in 2015. He has not been charged in Cerro Gordo County.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Woods says the plea deal stipulates that Gathercole won't be prosecuted by other jurisdictions for other violent crimes, including the shooting of a Kansas state trooper in 2017 and bank robberies in California, Idaho, Iowa and Washington state.
Some of the crimes had passed the five-year federal statute of limitations.
Gathercole is scheduled for sentencing in June.

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