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Holy nutcase! Man patrols streets in bodysuit, mask -- and a cape!

An obsessed crimefighter is roaming the streets of New York City at night beating up burglars, muggers and drug dealers -- while wearing a costume just like the movie superhero Batman!

"This fellow is a one-man vigilante team," a police insider said. "Last week he broke into a crack house and beat the hell out of a couple of well-known drug dealers.

"We have a dozen witnesses who have seen the fellow in the last two weeks and they all say the same thing: The guy's a bodybuilder, he's dressed up in a black outfit with a cape and wears a mask just like Batman wore in the movies."

The mysterious figure's most highly publicized act of heroism came last week when he broke up an armed robbery at a fast-food restaurant, knocking out two would-be robbers in the process. "When our officers arrived on the scene one of the thieves was unconscious and the other was so groggy that he didn't know where he was," the police source said. "This Batman fellow had worked them over pretty good."

Officials are unsure how to deal with the crimefighter, who has gained a devoted cult following in some New York neighborhoods. "Our problem is that this guy is breaking the law, but if we throw him in jail we'll look like the bad guys," the anonymous policeman said.

"But we can't allow him to go around making his own laws. And the fact that he wears a superhero costume shows that he is probably mentally unstable."

Police psychologists say the real-life Batman fits the profile of an angry crime victim who is fighting back.

"You see this a lot when someone has been victimized. But this guy is obviously obsessed in a twisted, almost frightening kind of way. It appears he truly believes he is Batman."

Witnesses say the Batman is highly skilled in the martial arts and has no trouble overpowering the criminals he attacks. "One couple said they were being mugged when the Batman jumped out from behind a tree, kicked the gun from the mugger's hand, put him into a headlock and rammed him into a tree."

"But in that case, as always, by the time the police got there the Batman was gone."

Weekly World News