A SUMMARY OF 'CREEPY CLOWN' HOAXES
USA TODAY NETWORKAshley May, USA TODAY8:20 a.m. EDT September 30, 2016
Reports of clowns haunting more than ten states have people on edge. And, the reports keep coming. Friday, some schools in Cincinnati, Ohio, closed because a woman reported being attacked by a male dressed as a clown. So, is the creepy clown epidemic serious or just a sick joke? Police are investigating a host of reports from South Carolina to Georgia, and have made some arrests. Here's what we know:
Wisconsin: On Aug. 1, reports of Gags – The Green Bay Clown disturbed Wisconsin residents. Later, the man who set up a Facebook account which fueled conversation about Gags sightings came forward, saying it is all part of an independent horror film coming out around Halloween.
South Carolina: Reports of clowns terrorizing people in South Carolina started in mid-August. One woman reported seeing a middle-aged white man in clown-like facial makeup and red hair standing outside the laundromat. The woman told police the clown stared at her as she walked out, but didn't speak or follow her. In another report, children reported clowns were trying to lure them into woods with money. Residents of the Fleetwood Manor Apartments in Greenville, S.C., reportedly received letters from property management encouraging them to abide by the apartment’s 10 p.m. curfew, and not to let their children walk alone at night. “Obviously, this is the type of claim that we need to take serious whether it's valid or not," said Master Deputy Ryan Flood with the Greenville County Sheriff's Office. Deputies have not received any recent reports or arrested anyone.
North Carolina: Sept. 4, children reported a clown was trying to lure them into the woods in a Winston-Salem neighborhood. According to two kids, the man had on white overalls, white gloves, red shoes with red bushy hair, a white face, and a red nose. They told police he offered them treats if they would come into the woods. Police said an adult heard the man, but did not see him. A few days later, the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office received an anonymous call that a clown was outside of an elementary school, but it turned out that report was false.
Georgia: LaGrange Police in Georgia said it had received several calls about clowns “in wooded areas trying to talk to children." At one point, a middle school was under a “soft lock down” because of creepy clown reports, Deb Myers with the Troup County School System told LaGrange Daily News. Georgia police arrested two people Sept. 14 for calling 911 and allegedly making false claims about clowns trying to lure children into a van. Officials didn't find any clowns. Sept. 20, a Facebook page was created (it has since been taken down) fueling fears in Georgia. The page said clowns would be driving to local elementary, middle and high schools to abduct children. LaGrange police department obtained warrants andarrested four people they believe are responsible for the threats.
Alabama A 10-year-old found responsible for making "clown threats" to Montgomery Public Schools in Alabama was arrested Sept. 21. Earlier that week, police arrested two high school students behind a since-deleted Facebook account named ClappyAndslappy DaClown, which released a 5-minute video threatening violence against Troy residents. Additionally, police are looking for the person(s) responsible for a Facebook page, which has since been deleted, under the name Bingerman Clownferd. The social site threatened to visit Montgomery schools and beat students.
Mississippi A clown call made Sept. 21 in Tchula, Miss., turned out to be true. Police Chief Kenneth Hampton said he saw someone wearing a mask, a multi-colored wig and overalls around 11 p.m. on Wednesday. The person, who was carrying what looked like a machete, ran away after seeing the patrol vehicle. The person in the clown outfit has not been seen since.
Maryland: The Salisbury Police Department of Maryland recently investigated two reports of clown sightings. Callers said they saw three people dressed as clowns hiding in bushes and jumping out to scare people on Sept. 25. All three were reported to be wearing clown masks with orange and blue hair. Officers weren't able to locate any clowns.
Florida: A woman reported seeing two clowns last weekend near Victoria Park, Fla. She said the clowns were staring at her. It's unclear if they were trying to scare or harm her, but police issued an alert to surrounding agencies and searched the wooded areas and railroad tracks near U.S. 1. The clowns were not located. “The problem is that someone dressed like a clown could scare someone and there’s a possibility, a possibility you could end up with someone getting shot,” said Lt. Mike Bandish of the Palm Bay Police Department. “A person could think that they’re about to get robbed."
Pennsylvania: This week, students at York College in southern Pennsylvania reported seeing people dressed as clowns, both on campus and off. One anonymous tip reported on Monday that there was a car full of clowns possibly armed with weapons. Officials didn't find any clowns. In Pottsville, police were investigating after clowns were seen yelling at children. A girl told a TV station that a clown had chased her and her friends and later threw a broken stick at them from the woods.
Ohio: Colerain Police Department in Cincinnati, Ohio, arrested a juvenile Sept. 29 in connection with clown threats to harm students at Colerain High School. Reading schools are closed Friday after a woman reported being attacked by a male dressed as a clown. The woman told police that the attacker made a threat against students. No arrests have been made in the attack and schools were closed out of concern for of students that walk to school early, according to the Reading Community City School District. Around 2 a.m. Sept. 27, a woman called police in Lancaster, Ohio, saying she saw someone dressed as a clown holding a large kitchen knife. Police talked with witnesses at the scene who said they saw two people dressed as clowns: one in a gold suit with balloon and another in all black. Officers checked, but were unable to locate the clowns.
Tennessee: Two south Nashville Metro Schools went under a soft lockdown following a social media threat reportedly involving a clown, according to information from school officials and a Metro-Nashville dispatcher. Authorities said the threats weren't credible.