A policeman got the chance to “save” Spider-Man and the X-Men after an opportunistic thief pinched a package containing rare comics.
Detective Victor Falcon was able to track down the thief after he went to a string of comic book stores trying to offload the comics worth more than $12,000 (about £8,940).
The comics had been mailed to a collector in Brooklyn, New York, and left on his doorstop.
But when the collector returned to find the package missing, he got in touch with the police.
They searched CCTV from the area to find the culprit, then armed with a description Falcon went to local comic book stores.
“I went to a local comic shop and I was told that someone had been trying to sell the comics just a few hours earlier. That happened in the next one I tried too.
“The comic book community was very helpful. They came together and shared information about the stolen comics with each other and also cooperated fully with our investigation.”
The comics in question were extremely rare. The package contained first editions of The Amazing Spider-Man and The X-Men from 1963.
After the seller left his phone number at one shop, Falcon called him to arrange a meet pretending to be a possible buyer.
A spokesman for NYPD said: “The seller was adamant that the deal had to be done that same day. Detective Falcon, who was working that day at another assignment related to the United Nations General Assembly returned to the precinct later that evening.
“He was able to meet with the seller who was in possession of the stolen comic books and arrest the suspect with the assistance from the 72 Precinct’s Anti-crime Team.”
The two books were recovered and returned to their owner.
A 40-year-old man has been charged with criminal possession of stolen property.