Police in one American city have a new ally in the fight against crime - whether they want it or not.
A self-proclaimed superhero has taken to the streets of Cincinnati.
His bizarre costume may be home-made and he may not be able to leap over tall buildings in a single bound, but 'Shadow Hare' has warned criminals 'they have nowhere to hide'.
At just 5ft 7ins tall and weighing in at about 10 stone, the mystery crime fighter won't have many law-breakers quaking in their boots.
Which perhaps explains why Shadow Hare arms himself with handcuffs, a taser and pepper spray - all legal in the city - as he patrols the streets.
All that is known about the so-called superhero's identity is that he is 21 years old and hails from the town of Milford, Ohio.
He also claims to have been abused as a child and to have grown up in foster homes.
'We help enforce the law by doing what we can in legal standards, so we carry handcuffs, pepper spray, all the legal weapons,' said the crusading vigilante in a distinctive squeaky voice.
'We will do citizen's arrests. We will intervene on crimes if there is one happening in front of us.'
Like his comic-book role models, Shadow Hare recognises there are risks that come with the job: two years ago he dislocated his shoulder trying to help a woman who was being attacked.
'My message to Cincinnati is that there is still hope and all we have to do is stand together,' he added.
Surprisingly, Shadow Hare is not the only 'superhero' determined to help out the police.
He claims to head a group of supermen - and one superwoman - who call themselves the 'Allegiance of Heroes'.
Shadow Hare said: 'I've teamed up with "Mr Extreme" in San Diego and we were trying to track down a rapist.'
Perhaps tellingly, the Allegiance of Heroes communicate with each other in online forums. They often team up to patrol the streets.
Other members include 'Wall Creeper' in Colorado, 'Master Legend' in Florida, and 'Aclyptico' in Pennsylvania.
Four associates recently assembled in front of the press, who filmed them as they went about such duties as feeding Cincinnati's homeless.
Immediately noticeable was that the Allegiance of Heroes don't keep themselves in peak - or anywhere near peak - physical condition.
In a posting on his MySpace blog, Shadow Hare writes: 'We have just gotten started, we are nowhere near over yet. We will fight tooth and nail to make this world a much better place.
'The Allegiance has assembled... people are starting to know... criminals and corrupt people will run out of places to hide.
'We are going to give the people the last laugh. Just wait and see.'
In: Arts and Entertainment
Tags: Shadow, Hare, Cincinnati, Super, hero, crime, fighter
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States (load item map)
Marked as: approved
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