'SOPRANOS' STAR TURNS INTO REAL-LIFE CRIMEBUSTER!

YO, Tony Soprano! . . . Whadda you, NUTS?? . . . Actin' like a FREAKIN' COP?? . . .

Enquiring wiseguys wanna know WHY, so start talkin'! OKAY? . . . Okay, okay! So, Emmy-winner James Gandolfini played real-life hero on a dimly lit New York street, swiftly morphing into tough-guy Tony Soprano when he saw a guy knock a woman to the sidewalk, grab her purse -- and take off running! Problem was . . . he ran STRAIGHT at Gandolfini! Folks, imagine the heart-stopping jolt Punk-Ass got when he heard, "HEY!" -- and suddenly looked into the ice-cold eyes of TV's meanest mob boss!! (Whoa! FUGGEDABOUDIT!) Gandolfini grabbed the creep and tripped him -- slamming him down so hard the purse sailed half a block! BA-DA-BING! The star hollered for help -- and security guards from a nearby business handcuffed the guy, then held him for the cops! Gandolfini gathered up the stolen purse, gallantly handed it back to the hysterical woman and stuck around until she calmed down.