The Storied Writing and Publication Process of Heist and High
Considering the fact that Anthony Curcio pled guilty to the Brink’s armored car robbery in June 2009 and spent the better part of the four years since in Jail, you may be confused about how he found the time to write and publish a book. That’s where co-author Dane Batty came into the equation.
Batty, the writer of another crime book called Wanted: Gentleman Bank Robber, got in touch with Curcio through a mutual contact and the two began to talk. Curcio’s story had just hit the national press in the form of a GQ article, and big-name authors were coming out of the woodwork, offering to expand the narrative into a full-length book. For a moment, it seemed like Anthony’s life would be the stuff big-six-publisher bestseller.
“Those relationships fell through,” Batty explained. “Anthony wanted to tell his side of the story and not the version that everyone else wanted to hear. So I was the hired gun, the guy who would tell the story in Anthony’s requested way.”
Curcio and Batty established a pen pal relationship, the former writing out his life story in a series of letters, the latter translating them into the prose that became Heist and High.
When contacts with publishers and literary agents failed, Batty and Curcio decided to publish independently. The two authors were working to hit a virtual deadline: Anthony was poised to do an interview with ABC’s 20/20 when he got out of prison, and Batty wanted to make sure the book was available for purchase by the time the interview hit the air. In retrospect, both parties agree that rushing the book to publication was a mistake. ABC focused on glamorizing Anthony’s crime rather than investigating his addiction, and the marketing boost the book got from the interview was negligible.
“We had held off on our marketing plan because of [the interview], which ended up being nothing more than a joke and a dropped opportunity at increasing the awareness about the dangers of prescription drugs,” Anthony recalled.
“[ABC] changed the whole approach and message of the interview at the last minute, and it didn’t portray Anthony in a good light at all,” Batty agreed. “Looking back, we should have taken the time, turned down the interview, and gone for a more traditional publishing platform. But you can’t turn back the clock.”
Luckily, Heist and High will get another chance: Batty and Curcio have optioned the television rights for the book, and a dramatized documentary, as well as several addition publicity interviews, will help Anthony’s story to reach a wider audience.
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“As he grabbed the canvas bags of cash, Anthony prayed, God, I know you don’t like what I’m doing, so I won’t ask you for your help. But please do what’s best for my family and take care of them. God was listening, but He had His own plan.”
So begins Heist and High, a biography about crime, punishment, addiction, and redemption that tells the life story of Anthony Curcio. While Curcio’s name might not immediately ring bells, readers who followed the news much back in 2008 will know him as the Brink’s armored car robber, D.B. Tuber, or the Craigslist robber. Some called him a Robin Hood archetype for a new generation, while others idolized him as a visionary criminal with a meticulous plan, a real-life Thomas Crown. In actuality, Anthony Curcio was just a scared kid who had gone down the wrong path.
Regardless of the alias, the man behind the crime was the same, and his actions have, understandably, gotten a heavy dose of media attention in the five years since the robbery. By now, the tale of the crime has been told a thousand times: how Anthony hired a team of “landscapers” on Craigslist and had them dress in outfits similar to his so that they could serve as unwitting decoys; how he pepper-sprayed the driver of a Brink’s armored car in a bank parking lot, stole half a million dollars in cash, and darted off into the woods; how he used an inner tube and a network of pull cables to transport himself and a heavy bag of money downstream and away from the crime scene without being detected; and how a disastrous series of events, coincidences, tips, and mistakes led to the police banging on Anthony’s door one day a few months later, an arrest warrant in hand.
Heist and High, co-authored by writer Dane Batty and Curcio himself, may tell the story of the robbery from the eyes of its mastermind, but that’s hardly what the book is about. In reality, the crime serves as a lightning rod for attracting attention to a range of pivotal themes, chief among them Anthony’s fall from grace at the hands of prescription drug addiction. In other words, the robbery is not the springboard of Anthony’s story, but merely one of the consequences of his destructive drug habit. And the story that Batty and Curcio weave around it is entrancing, heartbreaking, and utterly redemptive.
In another life, Anthony Curcio was a star athlete, a key cog in the football and basketball teams at his high school in Monroe, WA, and a guy that just about everybody liked. He married his high school sweetheart, the two had a pair of daughters, and the family is still together to this day. But after he was sidelined by a sports injury in college, Anthony spiraled into a self-made hell of prescription drug addiction, one that would define his life for years and turn him into a rabid criminal just looking for his next fix. The Brink’s armored car robbery was his biggest job, but it wasn’t the only crime Curcio committed to support his habit, and had he gotten away with it, the robbery may just have been the first in a series of increasingly serious crimes. But fate stepped in, and one night, rotting in a solitary confinement cell and serving a six-year prison sentence that took him away from his wife, his kids, and everything he had ever loved, Anthony made the vow not only to survive prison, but also to turn his life around when he got out.
“I wrote the book for one reason: to open people’s eyes to the truth about prescription medication,” Curcio said. “Addiction is something that leads only a few places: treatment, jail, or death. I am very fortunate to have a second chance at life. What type of person would I be if I didn’t try to help others avoid the hell that my family and I went through?”
Released from prison in April of this year, Curcio immediately went to work repairing his relationships with his family and friends and putting his story to good use. Now, the former criminal is giving speeches around his community, trying to keep kids like him from falling into similar drug-related traps. In his free time, he enjoys the company of his family and illustrates children’s books for pleasure. He’s a new man. He’s been reborn. Prison forced Curcio to get clean: now he just wants to make sure he stays that way and plays his part in assuring that others do as well.
“I was very fortunate,” Curcio said of his time in prison. “I had a huge incentive to change: my beautiful wife and two daughters. I had people on the outside who cared and who were waiting for me, offering support. There wasn’t a second of the day that went by that I didn’t think of those people. And so I knew that, when I finally made it out, I would never go back and I would do everything in my power to stop others from winding up where I did.”
Interested in reading Heist and High and discovering more of Curcio’s riveting story for yourself? The book is available as both an eBook and a paperback on Amazon.com and can also be found on the Nish Publishing website.
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Craig Manning is currently studying English and Music at Western Michigan University. In addition to writing for Independent Publisher, he maintains a pair of entertainment blogs, interns at the Traverse City Business News, and writes for Rockfreaks.net and his college newspaper. He welcomes comments or questions concerning his articles via email, at email@example.com.