Virally Mocked Police Sketch Works, Suspect Arrested

A witness's cartoonish sketch of a suspected thief created a comedic uprising on social media, but the police got an ID.

Lancaster, PA –A witness’s cartoonish sketch ultimately helped police to positively identify a suspected thief, but not before it prompted an outpouring of comedic responses on social media.

The sketch was released by Lancaster Police Department (LPD) on Tuesday, in an effort to find a man who stole an undisclosed amount of cash from a vendor on Jan. 30, Lancaster Online reported.

According to police, the suspect pretended to be an employee at the vendor’s stand while the actual employee was away. The man fled on foot with the cash in hand.

The witness’s hand-drawn sketch depicted an inverted-triangle shaped head, with an “L” for a nose, dots for eyes, and short slashes for the mouth and facial contours.

The witness topped the image off with scribbles for hair and a beanie-style hat.

According to FOX News, police said that the man was approximately 5 feet 4 inches, and was estimated to be between the ages of 30 and 40. He was also believed to be South American or Asian, with black hair and wide cheekbones.

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

As the sketch of the suspect circulated on social media, plenty of people immediately identified the man as – well, basically everyone.

​Despite the mockery, however, LPD announced on Wednesday that a warrant had been issued for 44-year-old Hung Phuoc Nguyen, who was positively identified by a witness, investigators, and veteran officers, Lancaster Online reported.

Police credited the witness’s sketch and the additional suspect description information for breaking the case.

“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,” the LPD said on their website.

Nguyen, who has not been apprehended, has been charged with two counts of theft by unlawful taking.

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