World's worst police sketch actually leads to successful arrest
These days, a lot of the forensic techniques used by crime investigators are so sophisticated that they'd probably seem unrealistically futuristic if used in a TV show. We all know about fingerprint identification and DNA comparisons, but highly-advanced techniques like chemical analysis through spectrometry, psychological profiling, and (if you've ever seen an episode of Dexter) blood spatter analysis all seem way too complex for us laypeople to understand.
However, criminal investigations aren't always as high tech as we imagine them to be, and sometimes a break in the case will come from something as simple as a witness testimony, or a police sketch.
Just recently, in fact, a suspect in Pennsylvania was charged with theft after being identified through a witness' sketch; even though it was possibly the worst one in the world.
Hunt Phuoc Nguyen, a 44-year-old man from Lancaster, is being sought for arrest as of this week after someone recognized him from a sketch that was provided by a witness.
According to Lancaster City Police, the alleged criminal was described as being of either Asian or South American descent, around 5 feet 4 inches tall, and somewhere between the ages of 30 and 40. It was also noted that the suspect had wide cheekbones and dark hair.
Granted, that's not a hugely detailed amount of information, and personally, I think I could identify at least one or two people from my list of acquaintances who fit that description. So, when it was posted online, people hoped that the accompanying sketch would give them a better idea of who to look out for.
Unfortunately, it looked like this:
Far from being an obvious likeness of a specific person (or, indeed, an actual human being), the sketch instead resembled the scribblings of a six-year-old. With its comically-shaped head, scribbly hair, and a tiny smile, the picture could easily have passed as a kid's attempt at drawing their dad.
The drawing seemed so ridiculous that many people thought it might be a joke, prompting Lancaster City Police to say, "We released all of those details together in our police log in the hope that someone recognizes the suspect. This was not done in jest."
And, amazingly, it actually helped one person to identify Nguyen as the perpetrator.
This is what he really looks like:
Somehow, I can sort of see the resemblance. The round eyes were spot on in the sketch, as was the small mouth. The nose could have done with some more work, and his hair is definitely not as full as it was made out to be in the drawing; but - considering the sketch looked like a 30-second doodle - I think it was fairly accurate.
"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 police said.
After he was identified, Nguyen was charged with theft by unlawful taking and a warrant was issued for his arrest.