How Police Sketches Compare To Mug Shots

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Photo: Lois Gibson

Police sketches are routine during a criminal investigation, but how much do these drawings help to catch criminals?Lois Gibson is a police sketch artist whose pastel paintings have helped solve over 1,000 crimes over a 30-year career. She holds the Guinness World Record for being the world’s most successful sketch artist.

We are featuring a selection of her photos showing how her sketches compare to the real life mug shots. Many thanks to Lois Gibson for giving us permission to feature her work. 

Sketch done from mother who had a 10 hour old baby kidnapped from her hospital room. This woman was identified within a few hours of the sketch release.

This man was in a shootout at a botched bank robbery. He ran up behind a woman pumping gas and asked her for a ride. When she turned around she saw an assault rifle stuck in her eyes, and claimed she never saw his face.

A five-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted by this man provided the information for the sketch. Officers arrested him weeks later for public intoxication. They thought he looked enough like the sketch to have a line up. The five year old picked him out and several assaults of four- and five-year-old girls in the area were solved.

Francisco Cardenas is serving life in prison for murdering a police officer. A witness for this sketch saw this man drive by 40 miles an hour when he was 30 feet away. Thus, he saw this face for a fourth of a second at a distance while in motion.

The witness for this sketch was shot 15 times by this man, including one shot that took out one of her eyes.

The witness for this sketch was intoxicated at the time he viewed this woman. The sketch was done over two weeks after the incident.

Sketch taken from a 10 year old girl who was sexually assaulted by this man. He called and turned himself in when he saw this on the news.

This man kidnapped a thirteen-year-old girl who jumped naked from his moving truck to avoid further assault.

Witnesses for this sketch were two 12-year-old girls who were roller blading when this man came out of the woods completely naked and started chasing them. A detective returning from a fishing trip thought a man driving a van looked like the sketch. He jotted down the licence tag number and the case was soon solved.

The witness for this sketch was shot twice before he crashed out of his own screen door to escape. This witness does not remember doing the sketch. The perpetrator also shot the two elderly parents of the witness.

The witness, who saw this man, was robbed in her shop at a mall.

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