Bombs found in Montana home linked to bank robberies

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A jailhouse phone call transcript shows that a man suspected in a string of bank robberies and of shooting at a police officer asked his mother to clear his Montana home of guns after his arrest. A similar device was found in the auto he was driving during the shooting, authorities say.

A sheriff's deputy had spotted him pulling off the highway and realized that he and his vehicle matched the description of the assailant who fired on the Kansas trooper the evening before on Interstate 70 near Goodland.

According to the transcript, Gathercole tells his mother to get all the guns out of the house.

The woman agreed, then said, "This is recorded".

"Multiple departments are investigating whether evidence found during the search in Montana may be linked to a series of bank robberies now under investigation in California and other states", she said.

A search of his home turned up several explosives and the weapon connecting him to the crimes, including the California bank robbery.

In 2012 and 2014, a man the Federal Bureau of Investigation called "the AK-47 bandit" robbed several banks.

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

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Anxious about the Trump administration's proposed cuts to federal retirement? On June 19, 2017, Richard Lee Gathercole, 39, of Roundup, Montana, was pulled over by a Kansas State Trooper before fleeing in his vehicle during the attempted stop. Authorities say he fired at the trooper with an assault rifle. The trooper was not injured in the shooting.

Gathercole, 39, is suspected of shooting at a Kansas state trooper, according to a statement released by the Musselshell County Sheriff's Department, and an Federal Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman confirmed that evidence found during the search of Gathercole's home "may be linked" to a series of bank robberies in California and other states in 2012 and 2014.

Police from Chino, California, and Rexburg, Idaho, participated in the search, according to the Musselshell County Sheriff's department.

The numerous improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, found in his Montana home on June 24 further supported detectives' suspicions.

It was not immediately clear if Gathercole had an attorney who could comment on the allegations. He was put into jail on charges of possessing a stolen firearm and stolen property. Gathercole carried a duffel bag and an assault rifle with a drum magazine, they said.

The application to search Gathercole's home by FBI Special Agent Andrew Ubbelohde details one bank robbery by the "AK-47 Bandit" that FBI officials said was carried out by Gathercole: A 2014 Nebraska City, Nebraska, robbery in which $90,258 was stolen. During and following the robbery, the suspect wore body armor over a dark-colored collared short-sleeved shirt and blue trousers, as well as a ski mask covering his face.

The search warrant application did not describe other "AK-47 Bandit" robberies.

State-level charges have been filed in Kansas and Nebraska, and federal bank robbery charges in relation to the Omaha FBI jurisdiction are pending.

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