Monroe police say a man who they believe carried out an elaborate armored-car robbery involving an inner-tube getaway and unwitting decoys lured by a phony Craigslist ad has been linked to the crime through DNA evidence.
Police said they recovered a "significant" amount of money Monday night when they arrested 28-year-old Anthony J. Curcio, of Lake Stevens, at a department-store parking lot. Curcio is being held in the Snohomish County Jail on a warrant for first-degree robbery.
Police allege Curcio, dressed in a blue shirt, safety vest, particle mask and work boots, pepper-sprayed a Brinks armored-car guard outside of a Bank of America branch in Monroe on Sept. 30, grabbed a bag of money and ran toward nearby Woods Creek. At the same time, a dozen or so men dressed in similar clothing and particle masks had gathered near the bank, lured by a Craigslist ad seeking landscape workers. Police believe the ad was placed by the robber.
As Curcio ran, police said, he dropped a pepper-spray canister, a smaller bag of money, a hat, a wig, sunglasses and a particle mask.
Police later found an inner tube along the creek, but no sign of the robber.
On Tuesday, police said they're not sure how the inner tube came into play, but they believe Curcio either escaped on the inner tube himself or used it to float the money downstream.
"It was a significant amount of money," said Monroe Police Department spokeswoman Debbie Willis. "It would have been heavy and hard to carry."
A woman who answered the door at Curcio's listed address in a new subdivision in Lake Stevens on Tuesday declined to comment. A Windemere real-estate agent for the Summer Hill development, Mark Pellegrino, said that the family had been having financial troubles and faced foreclosure.
According to a birth notice that ran in The Everett Herald on Oct. 19, Curcio's wife gave birth to a baby daughter on Sept. 20, 10 days before the robbery.
Police said their break in the case came thanks to an observant citizen.
About three weeks before the robbery, a Monroe city employee was contacted by a homeless man who had found a pile of items behind a trash bin near the Bank of America.
The items included a black two-way radio, a yellow reflective safety vest, a black wig with a short ponytail, dark sunglasses, a large can of mace and a baseball cap, police said.
The homeless man watched as a man drove up to the trash bin in a silver car, gathered the items and left. He wrote down the license-plate number.
Willis said police believe the homeless man may have witnessed a failed attempt at a robbery or a practice run.
She said Monroe police tracked the license-plate number to Curcio and the FBI placed him under surveillance.
His DNA was collected without his knowledge when the FBI retrieved a container he'd been using as a chewing-tobacco spittoon. DNA from the container was matched by the State Patrol crime lab to that collected from the robber's discarded particle mask, police said.
Curcio has a history of convictions for drug violations. Police said Curcio may have used a laptop to hack into someone else's wireless service to post the phony Craigslist ad.
A 26-year-old friend of Curcio's, who was with him when police served the arrest warrant, was booked into jail for investigation of possessing stolen property. That man is not being named because he has not been charged.
Police said they are still investigating and that more warrants could be issued.
They said Curcio is not cooperating with investigators, and they still want to know what role the inner tube played in the robbery. They believe it may have been stolen. They are asking anyone with information regarding the yellow inner tube, or the robbery, to call the Monroe Police Department at 360-794-6300. Anonymous information may be left on the department's tip line at 360-863-4600.
Seattle Times staff reporter Lynn Thompson and news researcher Gene Balk contributed to this report.