College student patrols TN town in super hero costume

COLUMBIA, TN (NBC NEWSCHANNEL) - In a place where they've engraved "justice" and "honor" on the public square, a new word and a new name is the talk of the town.

Bike shop owner A.C. Howell knows the name well.

"The Viper, I believe. Isn't he the Masked Viper?" he asked.

He's correct. "The Viper" is a man police found patrolling Columbia's public square with an arsenal of equipment, including plastic sticks and ninja throwing stars.

His goal? Find crime and report it to police. Officers spotted him outside of Howell's bike shop last week. Howell couldn't help but chuckle.

"I don't know. He needs something to do. Probably needs a job," Howell said. "I hope he's looking out for my benefit. I hope he's guarding my store."

Columbia Police didn't want to talk about The Viper, but a lieutenant once told the paper in town they're doing just fine without any caped crusading.

As word of The Viper spreads, plenty of people want to know what would possess the 20-year-old to pick up an alter ego.

"The Viper" says it's a matter of pride.

"I am just a guy trying to do what's right in tights," he told the Columbia Daily Herald.

"The Viper" is a college student and a fan of comic books, and only he knows when his pursuit of peace will continue.

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