Investigation Discovery’s ‘Real Time Crime: Hollywood Heist / Last Supper’ features how the trio — Edward Byam, Derrick Dunkley, and Akeem Monsalvatge — robbed two Pay-O-Matic outlets in Queen in 2010 and 2012. While the robbery was caught on surveillance footage and they made several “rookie mistakes,” the dacoits took inspiration from a 2010 crime drama to execute their plan. So, how were the trio caught, and where are they now? Let’s find out.
Who Are Edward Byam, Derrick Dunkley, and Akeem Monsalvatge?
On February 14, 2012, three “NYPD officers” approached an employee, Liloutie Ramadan, of the Pay-O-Matic check cashing store on South Conduit Avenue in Rosedale, Queens, after she parked her car in the company parking lot. They showed Liloutie pictures of her residence and told her they needed to talk with her inside. Concerned, the female teller entered the outlet with them and asked his male colleague to let them through the double door. When inside, the three men brandished firearms and stole over $200,000 from the safe.
Before leaving, the trio poured bleach inside the check-cashing establishment to destroy DNA evidence and fled the scene in a dark, late ’90s Ford Expedition. Since Pay-O-Matic operated across state lines, the robbery was classified as a federal crime, and NYPD officials rushed to the check-cashing place. They also called in agents from the New York Field Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Since it was tax season, the outlet was loaded with cash, and it was a successful robbery, but thankfully the robbers hurt no one.
When the authentic NYPD officials showed up, the robbed employees were still nervous and scared about whether they were about to get burgled again. Because Pay-O-Matic is a financial institution, the store had cameras inside and outside covering almost all angles of the interior and the adjacent parking lot. The federal investigators reviewed all the surveillance footage stored in a central database, and it initially seemed white law enforcement officials had committed the crime.
All three suspects wore dark blue jackets with an “NYPD” logo, sunglasses, and police-type shields around their necks. While two suspects donned blue jeans and Yankee caps, one wore tan khaki pants. However, reviewing the security footage repeatedly, the detectives soon noticed several discrepancies. The jackets the alleged police personnel were wearing did not seem to be standard-issued NYPD police jackets since the letterings were yellow inside of white.
Detective Michael Visconti testified, “The hats didn’t fit properly, and the ear hole didn’t look normal.” He added how the bald bandit’s neck skin did not wrinkle when he turned his head. The officers also reviewed outside surveillance footage to determine the getaway car had a broken rear passenger window covered with black plastic duct-taped to the vehicle. While the footage was too grainy to specify the exact registration number, the police revealed the SUV may have had Virginia plates.
However, the robbers committed a “rookie mistake” when one dropped the picture of Liloutie’s residence while committing the daring heist. The investigators found a Walgreen stamp with a store number at the back of the photo. The Walgreen store helped the police identify one of the individuals, Edward Byam, and they ran his email for online payment and found he had bought three NYPD jackets through a novelty company via eBay. But as opposed to the robbers described as white males, Edward was an African-American.
Where Are Edward Byam, Derrick Dunkley, and Akeem Monsalvatge Now?
The case cracked open when the police received a tip via Crime Stoppers that the dacoits could be wearing Hollywood special masks. Upon reviewing the footage, the federal investigators realized this solution clarified the skin-related discrepancy and why facial recognition software could not get any hit. The officers released subpoenas to all known companies selling such masks regarding recent sales in the tri-state area. Composite Effects (CFX) out of Louisiana responded affirmatively to the query.
The company authorities showed the police an email of appreciation that Edward had sent to the company after the robbery. He had also used his credit card to pay the $2,000 for the three Caucasian masks, and the federal investigators obtained his phone number from his bank. Using phone records, the authorities identified the top callers for Edward and found his two accomplices — Derrick Dunkley and Akeem Monsalvatge. The police placed their cell phones at the Rosedale Pay-O-Matic location at the time of the robbery.
After their arrest, the federal investigators took the trio’s fingerprint and DNA samples, and they unexpectedly matched to an unsolved burglary of another Pay-O-Matic in 2010. His DNA matched a pair of handcuffs used to cuff an employee in the Queens Pay-O-Matic store in 2010. Cell tower data also put Akeen and Edward at the scene during the 2010 robbery. However, surveillance footage showed the trio wore handkerchiefs to cover their faces and beat the teller with a chair before cuffing him and stealing a little over $40,000.
The police raided Adam’s place to recover a $12,000 diamond-encrusted Rolex watch and Gucci merchandise. They also found photographs of the trio wearing high-end clothes and going on expensive vacation trips. The officers also located a job application Adam had filled out for Pay-O-Matic. They went through the other two’s apartments to find a photograph of Akeem wearing a T-shirt with a character from “The Town” on the front. The prosecutors proved during their trial that they stole the idea of the 2012 robbery from the Ben Affleck film.
The 2010 crime drama had a similar premise where a crew donned latex masks and splashed bleach on the crime scene after committing a robbery. The prosecution screened four clips from the movie during their 2013 trial in Brooklyn Federal Court. Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez said, “The check-cashing robbery used techniques stolen straight out of Hollywood.” Following a two-week trial, a federal jury found the trio guilty of robbery conspiracy, two counts of robbery, and two counts of using a firearm.
A United States district judge sentenced Edward, Derrick, and Akeem each to serve 32 years of imprisonment. The show stated some of Derrick’s convictions in the 2010 robbery were later reversed, and he was found guilty of conspiracy only, leading to a reduced sentence. Edward, 35, is incarcerated at the Federal Medical Center, Devens, and will be released in 2039. 48-year-old Akeem is serving his sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution, Fairton, and will be released in 2027. 35-year-old Derrick was released in 2020.