The New York City Police Department has  collared two brazen burglars who robbed a cash-checking store in Queens  disguised as cops, thanks to their polite letter of appreciation to their  unwitting mask maker.

Officials say Edward Byam and Akeem  Monsalvatge of Queens, dressed in NYPD gear and wearing high-end masks, robbed a  Pay-O-Matic in Rosedale on Valentine’s Day.

After getting away with the heist, Byam wrote  a short thank you note to Composite Effects, the makers of the mask, to show his  gratitude for the ‘realism’ of the disguise.

They identified themselves as detectives at  the store, wearing dark blue  jackets with NYPD logos and police-type shields  hanging around their  necks, before making off with the contents of an unlocked  safe. Police say the two men stole  $200,000 from the store.

Thick gloves covered their skin  completely,  and dark glasses hid their eyes, making it near impossible to identify them.  They even threatened a female store worker with photographs of her home, making  sure she knew how serious they were.

‘We don’t  know if they are white, black or  Hispanic. People in the neighbourhood  saw them in the van for two or three days  before the robbery,’ a police spokesman said at the time. ‘They saw  three white  guys.’

The police then traced the photograph of the  clerk’s home to a nearby Walgreen’s and were able to get Byam’s  home phone  number on a receipt.

Thanks to an anonymous tip, the NYPD zeroed  in on Composite Effects, a company that makes masks similar to the ones the  criminals used.

They contacted the company which then  supplied them with an email from Byam.

‘I’m sending this message to say I’m  extremely pleased by CFX work on the mask,’ Byam allegedly wrote, according to  the New  York Post. ‘The  realism of the mask is unbelievable.’

It appears they purchased the ‘Mac the Guy’  model with customized hair designs for upwards of $600.

‘Whether you want an ordinary Joe, a  handsome man or a blank palette to let your imagination take over for  our many  customization options, Mac is sure to be perfect for several  occasions,’ the  company’s website says about the mask.

The two appeared in court today on charges of  armed robber and were held without bond.

Monsalvatge had alleged robbing another  Pay-O-Matic in Queens, on Sept. 10, 2010. On Facebook, he lists his occupation  as ‘venture capitalist.’

‘The invidual [sic] has always had to  struggle from bein[sic] overwhelmed by the tribe. If u try it you will be  lonely often, and sumtimes[sic]  frightened. But no price is too high to pay for owning yourself,’ he wrote on  his profile.

If the trio were wearing masks the stunt  would imitate a London bank robbery, Britain’s biggest ever, when £40m was  robbed from the exclusive Grafts in Mayfair.

The two crooks hired a professional make-up  artist to disguise them using liquid latex, at a cost of £450 ($720), reportedly  under the pretense that the four-hour transformation was for a pop  video.


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