CRIME

Petaluma Batman: Real Life 'Dark Knight' Patrols Small California Town (VIDEO)

03/26/2013 06:59 pm ET | Updated May 26, 2013

It might not be as flashy as Gotham City, but the tiny Northern California town of Petaluma has its very own Batman.

For the past three months, a 19-year-old college student (whose true identity remains a secret) has been patrolling Petaluma on an electric scooter, determined to make his home a better place.

By day, he attends Santa Rosa Junior College, and by night, he dons a homemade costume of black pants, a yellow belt and a Batman t-shirt, mask and cape. Only five people know his true identity, but his presence has become a local sensation nonetheless.

"When I'm not in my Petaluma Batman costume, I hear people talking about me a lot," he told Petaluma 360. "It's weird, but I'm glad that I have been able to entertain people and lift their spirits. I just want to inspire some good will."

One particular act of good will included Petaluma Batman's help searching for his former classmate Alyssa Byrne, whose body was later found in Lake Tahoe. The small-town superhero alerted many residents to her disappearance by posting flyers on telephone poles and listing charitable organizations on his Facebook page, which has amassed more than 7,000 fans.

He even engages in mock battles and stages choreographed fights with "Petaluma Joker" and other pretend villains, much to the delight of his growing fanbase.

"There's this motto, 'a hero can be anyone,' and it's kind of really taken ahold of in the newest Batman movies," Petaluma Batman told ABC News. "I thought, 'Well, that's kind of neat.'"

Learn more about Petaluma Batman in filmmaker Austin Smagalski's video above, courtesy of Petaluma Patch.

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