The Meandering Social Worker

wandering : wondering : learning

Heist and High

Heist and High by Anthony Curcio and Dane Batty (2013), published by Nish Publishing (www.nishpublishing.com), Portland Oregon

Do you ever find yourself picking up some relaxing reading for the holidays, or even just the weekend, only to find that there’s still this underlying theme that you can relate back to work? Well, this book fits into that category.

Three quarters of the way through this book I was thinking, “This man’s gonna die soon”. He doesn’t of course and that’s the miracle of Anthony Curcio.

Heist and High is the true story of an amazing and successful athlete, with a promising professional career ahead of him, who through the misfortune of a couple of accidents quit the game. Fuelled by a growing addiction to prescription painkillers, prescribed following those accidents, Anthony turned his amazing mind and obsessive personality to crime. Meticulous research and planning meant he managed to stay one step ahead of the law – most of the time. Lies and deceit became second nature. Rehab and relapse became the norm. His family were powerless to help him.

Descending further into a living hell Anthony’s body suffered – anybody else, pumping such a massive cocktail of prescription drugs and alcohol around their body, would have died of an overdose. Had he not begun to falter in his meticulous planning, had he not been caught for what was his most audacious crime, robbing a Brinks Matt truck as it stopped for a regular cash delivery, it is doubtful if Anthony’s body could have held out much longer.

Anthony’s story is a lesson to us all, showing how easy it is for someone to fall into the vice like grip of addiction, an addiction that takes over and supersedes all other values, fooling friends and family with lies and deceit.

In the meantime the poor unsuspecting professional, picking up this biography for an innocent bit of holiday reading, will undoubtedly find themselves thinking of clients, pupils, service users and others they know or have known. If I had been Anthony’s teacher, coach, social worker, doctor, psychologist, would I have seen the signs sooner? Would I have had him assessed for OCD? Would I have been able to help prevent some of the traumas he and his family went through? Or would I too have praised him for the very qualities that led to his downfall?

Anthony was a very successful athlete and the only real drawback of the book is the abundance of football terminology in the early chapters that cannot be easily translated into English understanding of football. However, there’s no missing the underlying message of success and failure, hope and despair, trial and overcoming that makes this a worthwhile read.

Today Anthony has served his prison sentence. Released in April 2013 he is dedicated to trying to reach other young people with his story in the hope of preventing them and their families from going through the hell he and his family went through.

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