A CARTOON-like police sketch of a suspected thief actually helped catch him, despite the image being mercilessly mocked on social media.
The hand-drawn sketch was put together using basic witness details but proved to be just enough to jog the memory of cops who went on to identify the suspect.
According to the Lancaster Online, police in Pennsylvania were able to use the simple drawing to charge 44-year-old Hung Phuoc Nguyen with two counts of theft by unlawful taking, issuing an arrest warrant.
He was suspected of impersonating a vendor and taking money from a stand at the Central Market, while an employee had momentarily stepped away.
The homeless suspect then fled on foot with an undisclosed sum of money.
The childlike sketch was released by Lancaster City Police alongside a detailed description of suspect, described as a male aged between 30-40 years old, around 5 foot 4 inches tall, of petite build and believed to be 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.
In a Facebook post, Lancaster city police said: “We released all of those details together in our police log in the hope that someone recognises the suspect.
“This was not done in jest."
The sketch was almost instantly ridiculed online, with one person claiming it was singer Jason Mraz.
Another joked: “That guy looks just like my roommate,” with the sketch photoshopped on to a picture of his roommate’s face.
In response, Lancaster Police stated online: “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 image and detailed description of the suspect helped investigators and veteran officers identify the suspect as Nguyen.
His mugshot was then included in a photo line-up and shown to the eyewitness, who immediately identified him.
An arrest warrant was issued for his arrest but his whereabouts remain unknown.
A version of this story originally appeared on the New York Post.
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