Crime

Man charged with robbing two Palm Desert banks pleads not guilty

A man accused of pulling off a pair of bank heists in Palm Desert pleaded not guilty today to two counts of robbery.   

Christopher Thomas Franco of Indio, 43, was arrested Wednesday night at the City Center Motel on Indio Boulevard in connection with the holdups, according to Riverside County Sheriff's Deputy Mike Vasquez.

The first robbery occurred at a Rabobank in the 41000 block of Cook Street on June 14.

The second one occurred just a few miles away at Pacific Premier Bank on Fred Waring Drive along the border of Indian Wells near the Tennis Garden on Monday.

Authorities did not disclose how much money was stolen from those two locations.

Investigators do not believe there are any other suspects related to these two robberies at large, according to Vasquez.

Sheriff's officials did not identify Franco as a suspect in a June 10 heist where authorities said a man brandishing a gun robbed a Wells Fargo bank branch in the 42000 block of Bob Hope Drive in Rancho Mirage. The suspect in this heist remains on the loose.

The suspect in that case was described as wearing dark clothing and a dark covering over his face.

Franco is expected back in court on July 1 for a felony settlement conference. He remains held at the Indio Jail without bail.


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