The New York City Police Department hasÂ collared two brazen burglars who robbed a cash-checking store in QueensÂ disguised as cops, thanks to their polite letter of appreciation to theirÂ unwitting mask maker.
Officials say Edward Byam and AkeemÂ Monsalvatge of Queens, dressed in NYPD gear and wearing high-end masks, robbed aÂ Pay-O-Matic in Rosedale on Valentine’s Day.
After getting away with the heist, Byam wroteÂ a short thank you note to Composite Effects, the makers of the mask, to show hisÂ gratitude for the ‘realism’ of the disguise.
They identified themselves as detectives atÂ the store, wearing dark blueÂ jackets with NYPD logos and police-type shieldsÂ hanging around theirÂ necks, before making off with the contents of an unlockedÂ safe. Police say the two men stoleÂ $200,000 from the store.
Thick gloves covered their skinÂ completely,Â and dark glasses hid their eyes, making it near impossible to identify them.Â They even threatened a female store worker with photographs of her home, makingÂ sure she knew how serious they were.
‘We don’tÂ know if they are white, black orÂ Hispanic. People in the neighbourhoodÂ saw them in the van for two or three daysÂ before the robbery,’ a police spokesman said at the time. ‘They sawÂ three whiteÂ guys.’
The police then traced the photograph of theÂ clerk’s home to a nearby Walgreen’s and were able to get Byam’sÂ home phoneÂ number on a receipt.
Thanks to an anonymous tip, the NYPD zeroedÂ in on Composite Effects, a company that makes masks similar to the ones theÂ criminals used.
They contacted the company which thenÂ supplied them with an email from Byam.
It appears they purchased the ‘Mac the Guy’Â model with customized hair designs for upwards of $600.
‘Whether you want an ordinary Joe, aÂ handsome man or a blank palette to let your imagination take over forÂ our manyÂ customization options, Mac is sure to be perfect for severalÂ occasions,’ theÂ company’s website says about the mask.
The two appeared in court today on charges ofÂ armed robber and were held without bond.
Monsalvatge had alleged robbing anotherÂ Pay-O-Matic in Queens, on Sept. 10, 2010. On Facebook, he lists his occupationÂ as ‘venture capitalist.’
‘The invidual [sic] has always had toÂ struggle from bein[sic] overwhelmed by the tribe. If u try it you will beÂ lonely often, and sumtimes[sic]Â frightened. But no price is too high to pay for owning yourself,’ he wrote onÂ his profile.
If the trio were wearing masks the stuntÂ would imitate a London bank robbery, Britain’s biggest ever, when Â£40m wasÂ robbed from the exclusive Grafts in Mayfair.
The two crooks hired a professional make-upÂ artist to disguise them using liquid latex, at a cost of Â£450 ($720), reportedlyÂ under the pretense that the four-hour transformation was for a popÂ video.