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Spider-Man gets help from Jedi Knights and The Flash to stop comic-book thief

When Michael Baulderstone, a comic-book store owner, dressed as Spider-Man for a promotional event in his shop he never imagined that by the end of the day he would become a real life crime-fighting superhero.

Luckily, Mr Baulderstone's 'spider-sense' was tingling and he was able to thwart an attempted theft from his shop in Adelaide with the aid of The Flash and some trusted Jedi Knights wielding lightsabres.

The comical crime caper began on Saturday morning in the Adelaide Comics Centre. Fans dressed as their favourite superhero characters had descended on the store for the international free comic-book day -- an event designed to encourage children to read. Mingling among the customers in fancy dress -- including a Wolverine, a Catwoman and someone dressed as Kick-Ass, the character from the recent British film -- Mr Baulderstone noticed someone acting suspiciously.

The customer, who was dressed as himself -- a comic fan in an overcoat and jeans -- allegedly picked up an X-Man Omnibus, valued at $160 (€112), from the window display.

"My spider-sense was tingling," Mr Baulderstone (45) said. "I didn't want to scare him off so I followed him around the store and eventually said, 'Are you right there, mate?'"

With no police -- or Batman -- on hand to help, Mr Baulderstone decided to take matters into his own red and blue Lycra-clad hands. "I'm a tiny bloke but I just grabbed his bag and looked in it and there was the book," he said. "I had 50 people in the store so I just shouted for someone to guard the front door and it just happened that the Jedi Knights were there and they had their lightsabres out so they held the door until the police arrived.

"My colleague, who was dressed as The Flash, kept running the shop and stayed calm. It really was a team effort."

CCTV footage captured the whole scene on tape.

Mr Baulderstone said: "When the police came in they managed to keep a straight face and just hauled him away."