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‘Snowboarder Bandit’ convicted in bank heists

A Riverside man dubbed the Snowboarder Bandit pleaded guilty Thursday to robbing banks throughout Orange County, including one in Newport Beach and three in Irvine.

Michael Brandon Franks, 30, was convicted of 10 felony counts of second-degree robbery and two felony counts of attempted second-degree robbery, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office.

Franks was nicknamed the Snowboarder Bandit because of his ski-type clothing and youthful appearance, authorities said in a news release.

Franks committed 10 robberies at nine different banks between December 2011 and March 2012. He robbed a Bank of America in Anaheim, Chase bank branches in Laguna Hills and Laguna Niguel, a Citibank in Irvine, a Union Bank in Newport Beach, U.S. Bank branches in Irvine and Ladera Ranch, a Wells Fargo in Irvine and a Schools First Federal Credit Union in Anaheim, which he robbed twice.


Franks returned to the Citibank branch and the U.S. Bank branch in Irvine in an attempt to rob them a second time.

In each of the robberies, Franks entered the bank wearing distinctive headgear that included a motorcycle helmet or beanie and sunglasses. He then slipped the bank teller a note which stated he had a gun and demanded money, the release said.

Irvine police, with the assistance of FBI agents and Orange County Sheriff’s Department deputies, arrested Franks at his home in Riverside in May 2012.

“At the time of his arrest, Franks had money fanned out in the passenger side of his vehicle, a ripped up demand note, and several used Band-Aids he used to cover his fingertips,” the release stated.


Franks faces a maximum sentence of 10 years and six months in state prison. He will be sentenced in January 2014.