LANCASTER, Pa. (WSVN) — When police in Pennsylvania released a witness’s hand-drawn sketch of a theft suspect, they were widely mocked online. But it looks like officers are having the last laugh, after the drawing actually led to a positive ID.
A witness at the Central Market in Lancaster spotted the suspect stealing cash from one of the vendors. The person drew a sketch of the suspect and submitted it to Lancaster City Police, who then released the cartoon-like photo with a description.
Authorities said the suspect, believed to be Asian or South American, was around 5 feet 4 inches tall, and between 30 to 40 years of age. Police said the suspect had black hair and wide cheekbones.
The photo quickly spread, as users on social media compared the image to everything from “Where’s Waldo” to singer Jason Mraz. One user even quipped, “That guy does look pretty sketchy.”
The drawing shows a face with dots for eyes, a line for the nose, and squiggles for the hair. But police defended their decision to release the drawing.
“We released all of those details together in our police log in the hope that someone recognizes the suspect,” officials told Lancaster Online. “This was not done in jest.”
While many dismissed the drawing, police may have had the last laugh, after they say the image helped positively identify the suspect.
“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,” police said.
After the witness who sketched the drawing picked that same suspect out of a photo lineup, police issued an arrest warrant for 44-year-old Hunt Phuoc Nguyen.
Nguyen has been charged with theft by unlawful taking, but has not yet been taken into custody.
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