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Cartoonish’ sketch helps police identify thief in Pennsylvania

An alleged thief in Pennsylvania was positively identified by investigators on Wednesday thanks in part to a “cartoonish” sketch of the suspect hand-drawn by a witness.

Hung Phuoc Nguyen, 44, is accused of pretending to be an employee at a stand inside Central Market in Lancaster after an employee stepped away on Jan. 30.

Nguyen allegedly took an undisclosed amount of cash from the stand and proceeded to run away. The sketch, given to Officer Ben Rothermel, depicted the suspect as wearing a hat, having a sharp, angular chin, along with ear-length hair.

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Witnesses initially described the perpetrator as being 30-40 years of age, 5’4” tall, petite build with straight black hair, wide-set cheekbones and a pointed chin.

Image: Hung Phuoc Nguyen was identified by Lancaster County Police after a simple sketch of him was released
Hung Phuoc Nguyen was identified by Lancaster County Police after a simple sketch of him was released. Lancaster County Police

“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 Lancaster Bureau of Police said in a statement.

"A photo array was prepared and later shown to the witness that provided Off. Rothermel with the description and sketch."

After the witness positively identified Nguyen as the suspect, investigators issued a warrant for Nguyen’s arrest. He was not located at his last known address.