When a giant Lego figurine washed up on the shore of Siesta Key Beach, some thought it was a viral marketing stunt from Legoland. Instead, a Dutch artist might be behind the eight-foot-tall, 100-pound fiberglass man that has baffled and bemused Floridians. The Lego Man’s shirt bears the cryptic message “NO REAL THAN YOU ARE.” It was discovered by a man taking a Tuesday-morning walk on the beach.

(screen grab from YouTube/HowBoutJoey)

Ego Leonard might be the name of the artist behind the Lego man, or it might be the figurine’s name: When contacted via e-mail, Leonard replied in character to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune: “I am glad I crossed over. Although it was a hell of a [swim],” the e-mail said. “Nice weather here and friendly people. I think I am gonna stay here for a while.” He’s staying in character on his Twitter and Facebook pages, too.

Leonard’s Web site also says “NO REAL THAN YOU ARE,” and a gallery of paintings at the St. Art Gallery online depict Lego figurines. Other Lego figurines have washed up on beaches in Holland and England in 2007 and 2008.

One thing is certain: The Lego man has nothing to do with Lego or the Orlando Legoland park. The company has denied that it is a viral marketing stunt. A spokeswoman for Legoland told the Herald-Tribune that the Lego man is a counterfeit and is not endorsed by Legoland or its parent company, Merlin Entertainments Group.

The Lego man is in “protective custody” with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office. It could be finders keepers for Jeff Hindman, who will become the owner of the giant Lego man if no one claims him within 90 days. Will the figurine go to Legoland? Probably not: “I’ll put it on eBay,” says Hindman.

If you’re looking for a quirky Halloween costume, “Mysterious giant Lego guy” has potential to be a hit at parties. All you need is a green T-shirt, white paint for the lettering and some red pants.