12:07pm PT by Carolyn Giardina
NYC Robbers Turn to Hollywood for $2,000 Masks
The work of silicone mask-maker Composite FX has appeared in 2 Guns, The Wolverine, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, The Last Exorcism — and, allegedly, a Queens robbery.
In a bizarre heist, three robbers may have turned to Baton Rouge, La.-based CFX to create realistic masks to hide their identities.
Diana Branton, who heads media relations and is a sculptor at CFX, said the news was “shocking” when the company was contacted in regard to the investigation. She told The Hollywood Reporter that the three masks in question were CFX’s "Mac the Guy," a basic mask that can be ordered online, which were customized with eyebrows and a goatee. She said they run around $750 each.
According to an account from the New York Post, the Brooklyn federal court trial of Akeem Monsalvatge, Derrick Dunkley and Edward Byam began Wednesday, and the masks allegedly were used to transform black robbers into white robbers when they entered a Queens check-cashing store last year — witnesses apparently didn't realize they were wearing masks — and made off with $200,000.
In addition to Hollywood movies, CFX also creates masks and props that are used for theme park attractions, TV, theater and Halloween costumes.
Branton related that CFX also does work with law enforcement. The company can use a 3D scanner to scan someone’s face and sculpt a perfect-fitting disguise for undercover work that can go unnoticed, even up close. These can run $15,000 to $20,000.
According to the Post, the police said they made the connection when they discovered an e-mail from defendant Byam to CFX, which allegedly said: "I’m sending you this message to say I’m extremely pleased by CFX work on the mask."