This 'cartoonish' sketch released by police may look like a joke - but it actually worked

It’s possibly the least detailed sketch of a suspect most people have seen – but it actually worked.

The sketch of the suspected thief was made by a witness and released by police in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

And despite having fun poked at it, apparently it jogged someone’s memory who helped police identify a suspect.

Lancaster City Police said the suspect was originally described as a man aged 30-40, 5’4″ tall, of ‘petite’ build and possibly South American or Asian. He was also described as having straight, black hair, wide-set cheekbones and a pointed chin.

Police also released a hand-drawn sketch of the suspect, which some might say didn’t really give much away about the man’s appearance.

Sketch – this is the hand-drawn sketch a witness gave to police of the suspected thief (Pictures: Lancaster City Police)

But a few days later, police said the suspect had been identified as 44-year-old Hunt Phuoc Nguyen.

In a statement, the force said: “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.”

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The information was passed on and the witness then identified Nguyen in a photo lineup.

He has now been charged with two counts of theft by unlawful taking and police have issued a warrant for his arrest.

Suspect – the sketch helped a witness identify Hunt Phuoc Nguyen in a photo lineup

But despite the apparent unexpected success, some people remain sceptical.

Robert Robey tweeted: “The drawing doesn’t look anything like him. This makes me wonder how anyone was able to identify the thief.”