Police sketches could often be considered impressive works of art in their own right. So it's amazing that one appears to have done the job despite it being, um, distinctly less impressive.

Police in Pennsylvania have successfully identified a suspected thief and issued a warrant for his arrest after a witness knocked up a hand-drawn sketch of what he looked like. The sketch is both amazingly accurate and the sort of thing you'd expect to find inside a GCSE textbook all at once.

The Lancaster Police Department have now charged homeless 44-year-old Hung Phuoc Nguyen with two counts of theft and are looking to find him to take him into custody.

Credit: Lancaster Police Department
Credit: Lancaster Police Department

"While the sketch provided by the witness may have appeared amateurish and cartoonish, it, along with the distinctive physical descriptors, jogged the memory of at least one investigator to provide a potential suspect name," Lancaster Bureau of Police officials said in a Crime Watch blog post on Wednesday.

Nguyen is suspected of pretending to be a vendor and stealing money from a stand at the Central Market Mall in Lancaster while an employee had stepped away briefly, the Daily Mail reported.

When the police report was initially made on 30 January, the witness that drew the sketch also gave a brief description of the thief to the authorities, describing the man as between 30-40 years-old, 5'4" tall, of slight build and likely of South American or Asian descent.

"The suspect was further described as having straight, black hair that covered his ears and that he had wide-set cheekbones and a pointed chin," the Crime Watch blog added.


The sketch of the suspect, along with a description of what he allegedly did, were made public by Lancaster Police this past Tuesday as they looked for public help in identifying him.

As you'd expect, initially people didn't take the sketch seriously, mocking the department over social media, but police quickly stressed that they were being serious.

"We released all of those details together in our police log in the hope that someone recognizes the suspect," Lancaster city police said, according to Lancaster Online. "This was not done in jest."

Credit: Lancaster Police Department
Credit: Lancaster Police Department

All the information police managed to gather made them believe the suspect might be Nguyen, leading them to show his mugshot in a photo line-up.

The photo line-up was then shown to the witness who made the sketch and they identified Nguyen as the suspect. Police are now trying to locate Nguyen.

Maybe they should let caricature artists do police sketches on the side. On this evidence, it wouldn't do the chances of catching criminals any harm.

Featured Image Credit: Google Maps

Chris Ogden

Chris Ogden is a journalist at LADbible. He graduated from the University of East Anglia with degrees in English Literature and Creative Writing before completing his NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism. Chris has previously written for the independent culture magazine The Skinny, among other publications.

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