Cops Identify Hung Phuoc Nguyen as Theft Suspect, Despite Widely Mocked Sketch

A simple sketch led police to identify theft suspect as Hung Phuoc Nguyen.
Lancaster City PD

A sketch of a suspected thief that had generated laughs as little more than a cute doodle has actually led authorities in Pennsylvania to identify the man believed to be behind the crime.

It all started when a man pretending to be an employee took cash from an unattended stand inside Lancaster's Central Market at about 1:20 p.m. on Jan. 30, Lancaster City police said.

The brazen thief fled before officers arrived, but a witness was able to provide a sketch of the man to authorities.

Police shared the drawing on its crime watch page, and while it was initially mocked by some for its simplicity, officials said it did the job.

“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.

The drawing, paired with the witness’s description of the suspect, led investigators to believe Hung Phuoc Nguyen, 44, to be the man behind the looting.

Detectives included Nguyen’s image in a lineup for the witness to identify, and they picked the alleged thief’s photo as the person behind the Jan. 30 heist.

Police filed a criminal complaint against Nguyen, charging him with two counts of theft by unlawful taking and issued a warrant for his arrest.

Investigators checked Nguyen’s last known home address, but he was not there. His whereabouts are unknown.

Lancaster City police shared Nguyen’s photo on their Facebook page, where one person commented: “As much as I laughed at the sketch, it wasn’t entirely that far off.”

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