HARROW criminals may sleep a little less soundly at night knowing a self-proclaimed “real-life superhero” is patrolling the streets.
The Man in Black, aka 19-year-old Joseph Falica, dons a black trilby or flat cap and sometimes hides his face with a scarf, before jumping out of the darkness at unsuspecting troublemakers.
The Harrow Weald resident has learned Parkour, an urban French discipline, which involves climbing and jumping onto the top of buildings, so he can survey the streets around him.
He says he has a spot in Harrow town centre where no one can see him, but he has a perfect view of anything happening below.
He said: “The main weapon I use is to inflict fear on the criminal by coming out of the darkness. It does generally work.
“I just get people to stop and if it escalates, it escalates.”
However, a Met Police spokesman said: “We strongly advise people not to take the law into their own hands. If people see a crime being committed, they should always call 999.”
Joseph claims a recent incident involved a man who was being physically aggressive to his girlfriend in the Harrow-on-the-Hill area.
He recalled: “He was pinning the girl to the wall. I just came up and scared him because I came out of the black.
“He asked who I was and I said, ‘That doesn’t matter, just get off her and don’t touch her again or else we are going to have a problem’.”
After chasing the man away, Jospeh walked the girl home and said she was happy he had intervened, but did not really understand what had happened.
Joseph claims he also found some kids smoking drugs near St Mary’s Church in Harrow-on-the-Hill and moved them on.
The self-appointed superhero, who was born in Britain, moved to America with his family in 1998 and says he comes from a criminal background.
He claims ancestors on his father’s side were involved with the Sicilian mafia in Chicago, although his grandfather was the last in the chain.
While in America, Joseph became involved in gangs, fighting and general antisocial behaviour, but decided to turn his back on his troubled past and do something good for society.
However, Joseph’s bid to fight crime has landed him in trouble and on one occasion, he was attacked by up to four people with baseball bats.