You'd think that criminals smart enough to allegedly use Mission: Impossible-style masks while robbing a Pay-o-Matic would be smart. But, well, you'd apparently be wrong! Because two Queens men who allegedly pulled just such a heist this past Valentine's Day certainly made at least one serious mistake: writing a glowing letter of appreciation to the people who made their lifelike mask!
According to the police Edward Byam, 24, and Akeem Monsalvatge, 37, dressed in NYPD gear while wearing high-end masks from Composite Effects while robbing the check cashing outfit. For the actual robbery they apparently handed a female employee a picture of her home and said they knew where she lived. Freaking out, the woman handed over nearly $200,000. But then the whole thing started to fall apart.
Thanks to security pictures released to the media, it quickly became clear the robbers were wearing lifelike masks (that cost upwards of $600), which the NYPD were able to track down to Composite Effect. From there mask makers were able to help out because, well, a customer had recently written in to thank them for their work, saying: "I’m sending this message to say I’m extremely pleased by CFX work on the mask. The realism of the mask is unbelievable."
And while the police were following that lead, they also had another one at the Pay-o-Matic. Seems that the robbers had left the picture of the employees house in the store. That picture lead "cops to the Farmers Boulevard Walgreens where they had printed the image, prosecutors added. Police say they recovered a receipt from the store with Byam’s home phone number."
Monsalvatge (who had previously been arrested and was out on bond for robbing a different Pay-o-Matic in 2010) and Byam have both been ordered held without bail pending charges of armed-robbery.