“Big Boy Bandit” Denies Multiple Heists

An alleged bank robber whose large size got him the nickname the "Big Boy Bandit" pleaded not guilty Wednesday to 10 robbery charges in a series of bank holdups dating back to 2004.

Stephen Colburn, 54, is charged with nine counts of armed robbery and one count of attempted armed robbery, but he could face more charges as the case progresses, said Deputy District Attorney Allison Worden.

Worden told reporters outside a courtroom that the Ocean Beach resident has a criminal record for armed robbery.

Judge David Szumowski set bail at $1 million bail after the prosecutor said Colburn had ties to Mexico.  Colburn faces 43 years in state prison if convicted, Worden said.

Defense attorney Allen Cazares told the judge that Colburn, who lives with his wife and child, had been laid off from a printing company.

When the FBI announced his arrest Monday, they said Colburn was suspected of pulling off 17 bank robberies since 2004.

The arrest stemmed from a tip earlier in the day that a man was acting suspiciously at a Mission Valley bank. Employees there provided a description of the suspect and a vehicle license-plate number, and that information led detectives to Colburn, according to the FBI.

Authorities said Colburn's latest bank holdup was Nov. 17.

According to Worden, witnesses described a gun used in the armed robberies, although there is no evidence the gun was ever fired.  She said a total of more than $150,000 was taken in the robberies.

Colburn is due back in court Feb. 6 for a readiness conference and Feb. 10 for a preliminary hearing.

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