Remember the Snowboarder Bandit?
Better yet, remember Navel Gazing's Snowboarder Bandit Fashion Show?
Our 31-year-old runway model, Michael Brandon Franks of Riverside, just got two more years added to his prison sentence as punishment for 10 bank robberies he pulled in Orange County.
Franks had been sentenced previously to more than seven years in prison for bank robberies in Riverside County. Orange County Superior Court Judge David Hoffer allowed some of the sentence for the OC crimes to run concurrent with the time Franks received for the Inland Empire heists. But in the end Franks still collected a couple more years, giving him a total of just shy of 10 years in the joint.
Prosecutors argued for 12 years in prison for the Orange County robberies alone. Between Dec. 20, 2011, and March 21, 2012, Franks committed 10 robberies and two attempted robberies at nine different banks in Orange County: a Bank of America in Anaheim; Chase Bank in Laguna Hills and Laguna Niguel; Citibank in Irvine; Schools First Federal Credit Union branch in Anaheim (twice!); Union Bank in Newport Beach; US Bank in Irvine and Ladera Ranch; and Wells Fargo in Irvine.
He was called the Snowboarder Bandit because of his youthful appearance and the knit hat and ski clothing he often wore to disguise himself during his spree, which for the Orange County jobs earned him about $30,000 in 2011-12. The run ended when tipsters turned him in to authorities, he was arrested at his Riverside home and he pleaded guilty to robbery counts last November.
His wife Amber Franks begged Judge Hoffer for mercy, blaming herself for her husband's crime spree because he was unemployed and she "pushed him harder" to find work and "was really hard on him," City News Service reports.
"I'm not saying that was an excuse to go out robbing banks," the wife said, "but it was so hard. I just don't know what happened. It all spiraled out of control."
Hoffer agreed with Mrs. Franks, who called her husband "a good man and a good father" and the defense attorney, who called the crime spree an "aberrant period" in his client's life. And the judge said he took into consideration how old the Franks' children, now 7 and 9, will be when their father is released from custody.
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But Hoffer added the robberies displayed "a high degree of callousness" and noted some bank employees quit their jobs because they were left so traumatized.
"Mr. Franks is a good man," the judge said, "but he took away trust and replaced it with fear."
The Snowboarder Bandit faces another robbery count in Ventura County.