Update: Mystery solved. Watch VIDEO of SpongeBob getting into a fight with two slovenly pink-haired Boulevardgoers, at the bottom.

Updated with a close-up of SpongeBob, and mysterious twist: Was he acting a perv before the alleged street fight? Also, police tell the Times he was never arrested, just briefly detained.

Originally posted September 14 at 5 p.m.

Ah, to find oneself at Hollywood and Highland around this time yesterday, when a man dressed as SpongeBob Squarepants was detained, disrobed and arrested, according to witnesses on smart phones.

Twitter user Jet Nguyen wrote: “It's starting to feel like fall….which, clearly, is the perfect time for spongebob to get arrested for fighting in the streets. Real.”

Yet another, an L.A. resident named Chris Seckler, took the rubbernecking a step further with this priceless Twitpic of the LAPD intervention:

"Photo: Spongebob Squarepants getting arrested in Hollywood"; Credit: Chris Seckler via Twitter

“Photo: Spongebob Squarepants getting arrested in Hollywood”; Credit: Chris Seckler via Twitter

This had to be the highlight of all those StarLines tourists' trip to Hollywood — awakened from a same-old string of landmarks that look way better in the movies for a real live cartoon brawl. (Which makes us wonder: Do SpongeBob's eyes really pop out his porous backside when he takes an uppercut?)

A couple more witness accounts:

The watch commander at LAPD's Hollywood station says she's not aware of that particular arrest, and a spokeswoman for LAPD media relations says she can't help without an arrestee name. (Uh… Bob… something?)

Credit: Steve Boelhouwer via the Times

Credit: Steve Boelhouwer via the Times

Guess he'll just have to remain larger than life. The Los Angeles Times posted a photo from reader Steve Boelhouwer this afternoon depicting the scene a few moments later, once cops had stripped their suspect of his disguise. (See left.) In response, Times writer Andrew Blankstein makes the har-har link to Monday's big SpongeBob story: “Did a study drive him to it?”

Nope. We're pretty sure it was just the HIV needles and street steroids that go hand-in-hand with life as a character along Hollywood Boulevard. Even our favorite yellow pineapple-dweller can't Polyanna his way out of that kind of despair.

[Update: Costumed superheroes have been all but banned from the Boulevard since the LAPD cracked down on their unruly, panhandling ways last summer, though an L.A. judge since ruled that they're protected by the First Amendment.]

Just had to out-vilify Gumby in the growing movement to strip our childhood heroes of their innocence, didn't you, dude?

Update: We just found yet another shot of the SpongeBob arrest, much more up-close and personal this time, Tweeted by Jennifer Ortiz.

Credit: Jennifer Ortiz via Twitter

Credit: Jennifer Ortiz via Twitter

The good news: This can definitely not be the real SpongeBob, as we can see his facial foam sticking out his armhole. Phew.

The bad news: Along with the photo, Ortiz wrote, “Lmao Spongebob getting arrested in Hollywood for being a perv.” Uh-oh. Was the fight a result of some frisky advances from Bob's direction? Say it ain't so!

Update: A police “official” tells the Times that “the man was questioned but not arrested” after a “brief incident with two females.” The paper also confirms this was a continuation of the panhandling trend:

The incident was the latest run-in between characters who pose for pictures with tourists and then aggressively demand money, according to police.

Update: This should explain most everything else. Thanks, TMZ, for continuing to succeed where the LAPD has failed us.

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