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‘AK-47 Bandit’ pleads guilty to Nebraska bank robbery, won’t be charged in Mason City robbery as part of plea deal

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A Montana man dubbed the “AK-47 Bandit” and accused of holding up banks in several states, including one in Mason City, 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.

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, and Washington state, as well as the robbery of the Iowa Heartland Credit Union in Mason City in 2015.

Some of the crimes had passed the five-year federal statute of limitations.

Gathercole is scheduled for sentencing in June.


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