Reporter's Notebook: On the Trail of a Bank Robber

(Image Credit: ABC News)

Anthony Curcio is a bank robber who almost masterminded the perfect crime.

With twists and turns you might expect from a Hollywood blockbuster, it's a story that "20/20? was immediately interested in telling.

Watch the full story on "20/20: Botched!" Friday at 10 p.m. ET.

I was assigned the story in 2010, and it has taken me on a three-and-a-half-year journey, across thousands of miles to four different states, two federal prisons and into the lives of one incredibly resilient family.

Curcio is an attractive, articulate, intelligent man who was the golden boy of the bedroom community of Monroe, Wash.

The scion of a prominent family, a star receiver in high school and a married father of two, Curcio turned into a robber, nearly pulling off a heist of $400,000.

Why he took this turn involves the darker, less glamorous side to the story, one of a man struggling with an addiction that engulfed his entire existence, clouding his hopes, dreams and his reality.

I sent Curcio my first letter while he was in La Tuna, a federal prison in Anthony, Texas. I was pleasantly surprised when I received an email from corrlinks, a prison email system, requesting that I allow emails from Federal Inmate #38974-086. Thus began a dialogue that would continue for the next three years.

I went to La Tuna hoping to meet Anthony and arrange a prison interview. The Bureau of Prisons would not allow it, barring any media contact with Anthony for "security reasons."

Anthony was transferred a year later to Coleman, Fla., a medium-security prison where I was finally able to meet my virtual pen pal of the previous two years.

During that one-hour meeting, Anthony revealed to me how dark and desperate his life had become before the robbery. He told me about his addiction to painkillers and cocaine, which was costing him nearly $15,000 a month in the period leading up to the crime.

Still unable to get cameras into the prison, I knew that we would have to wait until his release in 2013 to get him on camera. It would prove well worth the wait.

I also had the great fortune to meet Anthony's wife, Emily. Emily is unlike any other woman I've met. She's strong, intelligent, fiercely loyal and determined.

Emily had to watch her high school sweetheart, the man she loved and married, walk down an increasingly dark path that led to infidelity, financial ruin, crime and nearly cost him his life.

Was she angry? Absolutely. But there was a love deep within her that made her hold on to hope even through his five years of incarceration.

I recall one trip she and I made to Texas together in the hope of getting cameras into the prison. Over dinner I asked Emily how she did it - raising their two children on her own, moving in with her parents, working full time and learning of more lies that had been told to her every day by her husband. Filled with grace, she simply responded, "One day at a time."

Anthony was released from prison on April 4 at 1 p.m. Emily texted me about how nervous she was as she waited for him at the Orlando airport so they could fly back to Seattle, where he would be placed in a halfway house for the remainder of his five-year sentence.

My fascinating journey with the Curcios now comes to a close, as "20/20? cameras finally capture Anthony's engrossing story, which will be the focus of this week's hour.

It was a journey I feel honored to have taken. Watch the full story on "20/20: Botched!" Friday at 10 p.m. ET.

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