An art teacher handed police a watercolour painting of a man suspected of stealing her debit card.
Serena O'Connor was shopping at Tesco in Bar Hill, Cambridgeshire, when she was approached by a man asking for directions.
The next day she discovered her card had been stolen from her handbag during the encounter.
The 51-year-old, a fine artist who teaches at Friends' School in Saffron Waldon, Essex, said: "I have a very good visual memory and do notice people's face and what they're wearing.
"As the time passes, the memory fades so four days later I decided to paint the picture in case I was asked for a description."
She managed to cancel her card before any money was taken and later handed the picture to detectives who are looking to trace the man.
Pc Alex Swinborne, investigating, said: "The victim is a portrait artist and has produced a very good image which will hopefully help us track him down.
"I would urge anyone who recognises him to call police."
Anyone with any information should call Pc Swinborne on 101.