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Case proceeds for bank robbery suspect

A Santa Barbara man who allegedly robbed four San Luis Obispo County banks last year had sufficient evidence presented against him in a preliminary hearing, Judge Barry LaBarbera ruled Monday.

Anthony William Frisco, 44, has pleaded not guilty to four counts of robbery and four counts of burglary of Wells Fargo and Chase banks in San Luis Obispo, as well as a Rabobank in Pismo Beach and a Wells Fargo branch in Nipomo.

Authorities initially gave Frisco the nickname “Red Sharpie Bandit” because of a red magic marker he allegedly used during heists.

But evidence during the preliminary hearing indicated that he used a pen of another dark color and not a red one to scrawl messages and pass notes to tellers during the local alleged robberies.

Investigators also suspected Frisco in a string of Orange County robberies last year, though no charges yet have been filed, according to Orange County authorities.

Frisco’s lawyer, Raymond Allen, argued that a lack of sufficient evidence was presented to warrant probable cause for Frisco’s arrest Dec. 17 in Santa Barbara.

Allen questioned the identification of Frisco by witnesses and the adequacy of the search warrant filed by investigators, arguing Frisco had no intent to flee as alleged.

Frisco is expected to appear Feb. 22 for a further arraignment on the charges.

Frisco is in custody at County Jail. His bail is $500,000.

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