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Cops collar Craigslist Thomas Crown

Flashmob caper foiled by wig pickup

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Police say they've caught the armored truck robber who craftily recruited a crowd of unwitting, identically-dressed accomplices on Craigslist to serve as decoys for his getaway.

On Monday, 28-year-old Anthony Curcio was nabbed by FBI agents and local police in a Target store parking lot on suspicion of robbery of the first degree. A second suspect with Curcio at the time, Robert Ellis, was also booked for possession of stolen property.

Police have been looking for a suspect since September 30, when a robber wearing a dayglo vest, safety goggles, a dust mask, and a blue shirt pepper-sprayed a security guard before snatching a bag of cash and fleeing.

The pursuit, however, was hampered by a dozen others with the same unusual attire assembling in the area. The group had been duped by a Craigslist ad for road maintenance work, instructing applicants to show up near the bank wearing vest, goggles, mask, and "if possible" a blue shirt."

The crook is believed to have made his final escape by floating down the Skykomish river in a stolen inner tube stashed nearby.

Police say they fingered Curcio by an earlier police report filed three weeks before the heist. The person had allegedly spotted a vest, two-way radio, wig, and a large can of mace stashed behind a trash bin near the bank. The witness observed a man drive up to the bin and take the gear, and wrote down the license plate number. The car was tracked to the suspect's wife.

Authorities also claim to have a DNA match from evidence left behind at the robbery site, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports.

Curcio has a history of minor crimes, such as prescription forgery. Police say he posted the Craigslist ad using someone else's wireless signal from his laptop, believing it would help hide his identity. ®

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