'Granddad Bandit' pleads not guilty in Virginia

Friday, September 10, 2010 | 11:00 a.m. CDT; updated 11:44 a.m. CDT, Friday, September 10, 2010

RICHMOND, Va. — The suspect in bank robberies across the U.S. who was nicknamed the "Granddad Bandit" by the FBI has pleaded not guilty in federal court in Virginia.

Michael Francis Mara of Baton Rouge, La., entered his plea to two bank robbery counts Friday, and a judge set his trial for Nov. 18. Another judge ruled that the 53-year-old Mara must remain imprisoned until trial.

Mara is suspected in 25 bank robberies in 13 states, including two holdups in the Richmond area. The FBI says the "Granddad Bandit" nickname was devised to help law enforcement and the public easily identify the suspect, whose picture was posted on billboards across the country. Mara was arrested last month after a six-hour standoff with police at his home.

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