UPDATE: "Granddad Bandit" pleads not guilty

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan – email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A man accused in a series of bank robberies across the country pleaded not guilty in Richmond Federal Court this morning. Michael Francis Mara was ordered to stay in jail until his trial.

During the brief court appearance, an FBI agent revealed alarming new details about the case.

We learned today in court, Mara allegedly confessed to the robberies after his capture. FBI agents said in his Louisiana home they not only found evidence of bank robberies but a stock pile of police identification, badges, even two Virginia volunteer rescue squad vehicle decals.

Surrounded by U.S. marshals, Mara calmly walked into the Richmond courtroom just as FBI agents allege he calmly walked into bank after bank around the country.

In December of 2008, there was a robbery in downtown Richmond at the SunTrust Bank on Main Street. FBI agents say the Granddad Bandit walked out with nearly $2,000 in cash. And then 18 months later, the bandit returned, hitting the Union First Market Bank in Short Pump.

At every robbery, the bandit handed the teller a note. Asking for a specific amount of cash and asking for the note back.

FBI agents say written on several of the notes was the phrase "this is a hold up. You have 30 seconds to comply."

After his capture in Louisiana, agents searched Mara's home and found 15 handwritten robbery notes, along with large amounts of cash.

Agents also discovered a secret storage shed rented by Mara in Louisiana. Inside were firearms and a stolen Toyota.

They say Mara, admitted to stealing the Toyota because his car had more than $200,000 miles on it and he quote, "needed a more reliable car to rob the banks."

Mara is scheduled to have a jury trial at the Federal Courthouse November 18.

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