'Batman' to patrol crime-ridden city

Retired soldier will hit streets of dangerous Brazilian town

Published On: Mar 19 2012 10:24:45 AM EDT   Updated On: Mar 20 2012 04:22:34 PM EDT

Police in a crime-ridden Brazilian city have hired a Batman impersonator to keep its streets safe.

Things have gotten so "batty" in Taubate that police hope the former soldier -- whose not-so-secret identity is Andre Luiz Pinheiro -- can "help to combat crimes such as murder and drug trafficking which have increased in Taubate," according to the Brazilian website O Vale.

Taubate, which is in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo, has suffered from 12 murders this year and 72 last year.In 2011, 450 young people were involved in crime and in the first two months of this year more than 114 have already committed some kind of offense, Fox News reported.

While he has not yet started patrolling the streets, people in the Esplanade St. Therese neighborhood are already excited to see the Batman hit the streets later this month.

"We realize that families are dysfunctional and this will be a way to rescue the children," Fabio Duarte, the director of Ciesp, the Sao Paulo center of industries, told El Diario de Sao Paulo.

Pinheiro told O Vale that he believes his role, both real and fictional, is still being determined.

"I am eager to know how we can work together," he said. "If I can help bring the story to even one child, that would be very nice."