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US cops swoop on Star Wars stormtrooper

'Step away from the laser rifle'

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Forget Jedi Knights and distant, computer-generated worlds - the new frontline in the battle against the Empire is Wisconsin, where fearless law enforcement operatives have been purging the streets of shifty-looking Galactic Stormtroopers bearing laser rifles.

Yup, the good burghers of Janesville can tonight sleep sounder in their beds after locals alerted officers to a possible armed robbery at the Ramada Inn. The suspected armed perp was kitted out in full stormtrooper uniform and, as Sergeant Kay Nikolaus of the Janesville Police Department put it: "Apparently some people who saw him felt there was a threat."

What they hadn't seen, however, was the marquee outside the Ramada Hotel which carried a banner announcing the JVL-CON science fiction convention - a bit of a give-away. Event organiser Joann Lewandowski told the Janesville Gazette: "It was kind of silly but kind of understandable."

Officers duly advised the stormtrooper to "leave the plastic laser gun inside". Reports that they later busted Darth Vader for acting suspiciously with a light sabre in a local convenience store are unconfirmed. ®

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