Masked robbers caught after sending sincere 'thank you' to Baton Rouge mask makers

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POSTED: Friday, August 24, 2012 - 5:48pm

UPDATED: Sunday, August 26, 2012 - 10:31am

It was known as the Valentine’s Day Heist; two guys dressed like NYPD officers, walked in to a check cashing business and robbed it in New York City. For months police were looking for two middle-aged white men who were caught on surveillance camera, until they realized the guys were wearing masks. Those masks were made by a company located in Baton Rouge.

"Most people don't know that anyone with enough money can purchase one. It's not just for Hollywood,” Diana Millar, a sculptor with Baton Rouge-based company CFX, explained.

A mask known as the "Mac Mask" was shipped out from the CFX studios in late November. A couple days later they received a "thank you" note, which would later lead the NYPD to these criminals.

"They were so impressed with the job we did for them they sent us a very heartfelt, very sweet, and very nice testimonial for the realism of their masks. And that was one of their un-doings," Millar added.

After a subpoena was issued and records obtained from CFX’s order and shipping logs, police were able to catch Edward Byam and Akeem Monsalvatge, two black men, not the middle-aged white men they were seeking.

"They had him cast Caucasian. And they are not Caucasian, so it was really shocking when they found out who it was," Millar added.

As for that heartfelt note from the criminals, the staff at CFX say it's something they're going to have to keep around for a while.

"You really have to laugh," Ken Decker, a co-owner of CFX, said. "I mean, I think that's a testimonial that we'll make sure is up on the website for all time."

The two were finally arrested on Wednesday, Aug. 22 and charged with Robbery, as well as Impersonation of a Police Officer.

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