In the comics, Batman usually manages to stay a few steps ahead of disapproving police officers, but Tampa's own Caped Crusader wasn't so lucky.

Far from Gotham's crime-infested alleys, 21-year-old Walsh Ian Nichols frequently patrols the nightclubs of Ybor City dressed as the Dark Knight. But Tampa police arrested Nichols Friday for violating a state law that forbids wearing a mask on a public right of way.

A police spokeswoman acknowledged that the law is rarely enforced but said Nichols had been warned several weeks earlier about wearing the mask.

Nichols was released a few hours after his arrest on $500 bail. Undeterred by police keeping his mask as evidence, Nichols told the St. Petersburg Times that he has a spare.