Preliminary Hearing Set for Alleged 'Snowboarder Bandit'

Michael Brandon Franks, 29, or Riverside, is charged with 10 felony counts of second degree robbery and two felony counts of attempted robbery in connection with 10 bank robberies in Orange County including Laguna Niguel.

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for the man dubbed the "Snowboarder Bandit" who was charged with committing robberies in 10 Orange County banks, including Chase Bank in Laguna Niguel.

According to court records, Michael Brandon Franks, 29, of Riverside, is scheduled to return to court on Dec. 11 for a preliminary hearing. He was arrested on May 4 at his home in Riverside. In June Franks pleaded not guilty to 10 felony counts of second degree robbery and two felony counts of attempted robbery. He was released from jail after posting a $250,000 bond, according to court records. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in state prison.

According to the Orange County District Attorney's Office, between Dec. 20, 2011, and March 21, Franks is accused of committing 10 robberies at nine different banks in Orange County. The bank chains included Union Bank in Corona del Mar, 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, US Bank in Irvine and Ladera Ranch and Wells Fargo in Irvine.

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, Franks 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.

Prosecutors allege Franks took approximately $30,000 from the banks.


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