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"D. B. Tuber" robs an armored car guard at the Bank of America in Monroe on September 30, 2008.
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On September 30, 2008, in one of the more unique bank robberies in Washington state history -- one that makes the national news -- an armored car guard is robbed outside of a Bank of America branch in Monroe (Snohomish County). The robber posts a Craigslist ad several days before the robbery, seeking workers for a phony job in Monroe; the workers are instructed to wear the same work outfit. Those answering the ad receive emailed instructions telling them to meet near the bank at 11 a.m. on September 30, and about a dozen men show up at the prearranged hour. At the same time the robber, similarly attired as his decoys, assaults the armored car guard outside of the bank and flees with $400,000. The robber escapes by floating away in a yellow innertube on nearby Woods Creek, earning him the nickname "D. B. Tuber." A 28-year-old man, Anthony Curcio, is later convicted of the crime.
The ad went up on Craigslist late in September: "Laborers with landscaping experience wanted for a job in Monroe." Those who answered got an email back telling them to meet at 11 a.m. on September 30 in Monroe at two different spots -- an Albertson's parking lot and Eagle Park -- located near the intersection of Old Owen Road and Highway 2, and both right by a Bank of America branch. The ad also instructed the workers to wear safety glasses or equivalent eye protection, ventilator mask, yellow safety vest, and a long-sleeved shirt; follow-up emails instructed them to wear a blue shirt if possible, and to wait for the project manager once they arrived. About a dozen men arrived at the two locations at the appointed hour and waited patiently outside in the mild morning for a job supervisor who never showed up.
By 11:15, the men were beginning to realize they'd been scammed. Then they found out how badly. While they were waiting for their ghost employer, another man nearby, similarly clad as his decoys in a mask and long-sleeved shirt, watched as an armored car guard, carrying canvas bags filled with cash, walked out of the bank and up to his armored vehicle parked nearby. At about 11:04 a.m. the robber raced up to the guard, sprayed him in the face with pepper spray, and snatched a bag of money from the guard. He then turned and raced 100 yards across Old Owen Road and through some underbrush to Woods Creek, shedding his accessories as he ran. Two men who witnessed the robbery tried to chase the yegg down, but he leapt into the creek and vanished.
Floating to a Fleeting Freedom
There were conflicting reports as to just how the crook got away. People couldn’t really believe that he used an innertube (one witness said he swam away), but it was true. The thief hopped aboard a yellow innertube that he had stashed in the creek and floated to his escape; the innertube was later found about 200 yards away. The sheer audacity of the heist and subsequent escape quickly earned the robber the moniker "D. B. Tuber" in a nod to the infamous 1971 case involving the airplane-hijacking, parachute-escaping robber D. B. Cooper.
The Seattle P-I reported that a similar ploy with look-alike decoys was used in a 1999 movie, The Thomas Crown Affair, in which an art thief escapes with a masterpiece from a museum while security guards are distracted by several nearby look-alikes hired by the crook. Perhaps this gave the Tubed One the idea for the extras in the Monroe robbery, though the police responding to the real-life crime were not fooled by the decoys. But the Craigslist ad was an added touch, and the innertube getaway was all original; Seattle FBI spokeswoman Roberta Burroughs told The Herald (Everett) that she had never heard of a similar tactic in 15 years of investigating bank holdups.
The amount of money taken was initially not disclosed, but was later learned to be about $400,000. The armored-car guard was treated at the scene for exposure to pepper spray and released. The national media quickly picked up the story, giving the city of Monroe its 15 minutes of fame in the early autumn of 2008. But although the crime had been well planned, the felonious floater had left a clue or two, and thanks to a tip from a citizen and a DNA sample from the mask dropped by the robber as he fled, police arrested Anthony Curcio, 28, of Lake Stevens (Snohomish County) on November 3, 2008. In July 2009, Curcio was sentenced to six years in federal prison for the crime.
“Armored Truck Robber Uses Craigslist To Make Getaway,” King5.com, October 1, 2008, website accessed October 25, 2008 (http://www.king5.com/); “Robber May Have Posted Craigslist Ad For Decoys,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, October 2, 2008 (http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/); Paul Shukovsky, “Monroe Robber At Large, Inner Tube Escape Unlikely,” Ibid., October 2, 2008 (http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/); Sonia Krishnan and Noelene Clark, “Did Inner-Tube Robber Use Craigslist In Heist?” The Seattle Times, October 1, 2008 (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/); Christine Clarridge, “Laborers ‘Set Up As Decoys’ In Robbery With Inner-Tube Escape Plan,” Ibid., October 2, 2008 (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/); Christine Clarridge, “Tip Leads To Arrest In ‘Inner-Tube’ Robbery,” Ibid., November 5, 2008 (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com); Polly Keary, “Bank Robber Floats Alone,” The Monroe Monitor and Valley News, October 7, 2008, website accessed October 26, 2008 (http://www.monroemonitor.com/); Ian Ith, “Robber’s Inner-Tube Ride Leads To Prison,” The Seattle Times, July 28, 2009, pp. A-1, A-8.
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E Main Street, Monroe, 1999
Photo by Nellie E. Robertson
Anthony Jay Curcio
Courtesy Snohomish County Sheriff's Department