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Suspect in bank robberies pleads not guilty to other charges


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LEXINGTON, Neb. (AP) — A man suspected of bank robberies in five states pleaded not guilty Monday to unrelated charges in Nebraska.

Richard Gathercole entered the pleas Monday in Dawson County District Court to two counts of possessing stolen firearms and one of theft or receiving stolen property, court records said. A trial starting date of Aug. 12 was set.

FBI officials in Los Angeles have said Gathercole, 39, is suspected of being the man they've dubbed the "AK-47 bandit," who's committed at least six bank robberies and attempted another in California, Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska and Washington since 2012.

Gathercole, of Roundup, Montana, was indicted July 6 in Seattle, accused of using an AK-47 rifle to steal $15,000 in North Bend, Washington, in 2012. San Bernardino County, California, officials have said they intend to charge him with attempted murder of a peace officer for the 2012 shooting of a Chino police officer during a bank robbery.

Court documents filed earlier this month said FBI agents seized bomb-making materials, seven guns and ammunition from Gathercole's home. Agents also said they found sheriff's badges and patches, a sheriff's vest, an ammunition vest, a military-style helmet, an organic chemistry book and material to make identification badges.

Nebraska court documents say Gathercole was arrested June 20 at a gas station near Lexington, Nebraska. A sheriff's deputy had spotted a pickup truck there that Kansas authorities had reported stolen by a man who'd fired at but missed a state trooper.

Dawson County officials said Gathercole is in custody at the county jail in Lexington, which is 198 miles (319 kilometers) west-southwest of Omaha.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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