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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

3 men who impersonated cops to pull heist may have used high-quality masks

The NYPD is asking for the public's help to identify the following suspects in a robbery at a Queens check-cashing business.

Three cop impersonators wanted for stealing $200,000 from a Queens check-cashing business may have worn masks that were Hollywood quality, the Daily News has learned.

Investigators began to suspect the trio that pulled off the Valentine’s Day caper had worn masks that were far from the average costume-shop props after they got a tip, the sources said. One of the false faces even looked like pro wrestler Bill Goldberg.

One thing is clear — detectives are not certain of the ethnicities of the crooks who cleaned out an unlocked safe inside a Pay-O-Matic store on South Conduit Ave. in Rosedale because they wore gloves and sunglasses so their skin would not show.

If the masks were in fact pricey and made by pros, the robbery would recall the $1.5 million London jewel heist in 2009, in which two thieves had makeup artists disguise them in liquid latex masks that made them look older.

The day after the Queens heist, the NYPD described the three suspects as white men who wore dark blue jackets with NYPD logos, had “police-type shields hanging around their necks” and identified themselves as detectives.

Later, a tipster said the robbers may have been wearing masks that made them look like three white guys.

“We don’t know if they are white, black or Hispanic,’’ a police source said. “People in the neighborhood saw them in the van for two or three days before the robbery. They saw three white guys.”

Investigators believe the crooks were wearing the masks as they cased the joint before they struck. They drove off in a dark-colored Ford Expedition .

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