UPDATE, MAY 9, 11 A.M.: The Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) has announced the charges against Michael Brandon Franks, 29, of Riverside County, the alleged “Snowboarder Bandit.”
The multiple felony counts could land Franks in state prison for up to 15 years with a conviction, making one wonder if pulling 10 bank robberies for a total take of $30,000 was really worth it–if the defendant did it, of course.
Franks is also accused of Southern California bank robberies outside Orange County. The charges for the OC jobs are10 felony counts of second degree
robbery and two felony counts of attempted robbery.
He was being held
on $250,000 bail awaiting a May 18 continued arraignment hearing in Santa Ana. The OCDA arraignment statement breaks down the robberies linked to Franks:
Between Dec. 20, 2011, and March 21, 2012, Franks is accused of
committing 10 robberies at nine different banks in Orange County. The
bank chains included Bank of America in Anaheim, Chase Bank in Laguna
Hills and Laguna Niguel, Citibank in Irvine, two robberies at the
Schools First Federal Credit Union branch in Anaheim, Union Bank in
Newport Beach, US Bank in Irvine and Ladera Ranch, and Wells Fargo in
Franks is accused of attempting to rob a bank teller at the Citibank
branch in Irvine and the US Bank branch in Irvine where he is accused of
committing robberies before.
In each of the cases, the defendant is accused of carrying out similar
acts: entering the bank wearing distinctive headgear which included a
beanie, approaching a teller, and slipping the teller a note stating he
had a gun and demanding money. The defendant is accused of causing the
tellers to give the money to him out of fear. The defendant is accused
of taking the money and walking out of the bank.
Irvine Police officers actually arrested Franks at his home May 4, the OCDA statement reveals, but his capture was a joint effort that included the FBI, the police departments of Anaheim and Newport Beach and the sheriff's departments of Orange and Riverside counties.
ORIGINAL POST, MAY 7, 11:42 A.M.: Authorities say the Orange County bank robber dubbed the “Snowboarder Bandit” . . .
. . . has been captured.
Michael B. Franks, 29, was arrested late Friday after the FBI staked out his Riverside home, according to the bureau.
Earning his nickname because of the style of his attire–which has also
included a black motorcycle helmet–the “Snowboarder Bandit” struck
at least 10 times in Orange County, including bank branches in Irvine,
Ladera Ranch, Anaheim Hills, Laguna Hills and Corona del Mar. He's also
been linked to other bank stick-ups from Oxnard to the Palm Desert area.
His m.o. has been to walk up to tellers saying he wanted to make deposits and then handing them notes that demanded they give him money and warned he had a gun.
Media images pulled from from bank surveillance videos led to tips that resulted in the arrest of Franks, who is due in court to answer to multiple felony charges this week, according to the FBI.