The growing clown epidemic seemed to peak in several American cities today, but none more so than the Greater Cincinnati area, where seven clown-related arrests and several school closings took place over the course of one day.
According to Cincinnati.com, “concern mounted” in local communities as law enforcement and government agencies were forced to respond to multiple episodes of what is being described as “clown-related mischief.”
Montgomery police reported Friday evening five Sycamore students were arrested in connection with the threats. According to police, the students were arrested after suggesting a clown organization, called “Clown Clan,” go to their schools. The students are being charged with inducing panic.
This follows the earlier arrest of two juveniles – one Thursday night in Colerain Township for a threat against the high school there, and one Friday in Miami Township for a threat against Milford High School. At least seven separate municipalities responded to clown-related threats this week.
Some jurisdictions are adopting a proactive approach to the clown problem by warning parents and residents of possible consequences for criminal activity.
Reading High School and Mount Notre Dame High School were closed Friday as a precaution following an attack by a man reportedly outfitted in clown garb. The suspect allegedly grabbed a woman’s throat and threatened her before making a vague threat against Reading High School. The incident occurred around 4 a.m.
Reading police said Kim Youngblood was smoking a cigarette on her porch at South Terrace Apartments when the clown appeared.
“I thought it was just a person that came up behind and grabbed me around the neck, and it turned out to be a person dressing as a clown,” Youngblood told 911 dispatchers. “And the person was making threats against the Reading School District, and making threats against me telling me that he was going to kill me.”
Youngblood told police the male fled after an alarm went off in a nearby apartment. The male grabbed Youngblood’s throat harder for a second before fleeing, police stated in a release.
“He said that there were going to be teachers and students who were going to be sorry that they were ever born,” Youngblood said.
The male suspect was reportedly wearing a striped outfit, red wig and white clown mask.
In Pasco County, Fla., schools are actually sending out notifications to families of students alerting them to the “creepy clown” threat:
School officials sent out a robo-call on Friday morning to let everyone know they are aware of the threats, but they have no reason to believe they are credible or that any of the schools in the county are in danger.
In Colorado, authorities take clown threats to schools very seriously:
“I don’t think it’s funny,” say Cortney Kuenzler, whose 9-year-old daughter attends Soar Charter School in the Green Valley Ranch area. “I don’t think as adults we should be dressing up as clowns scaring kids. I don’t see how we get a high out of that. It’s not funny.”
The CEO of TRAC Intelligence, a threat analysis consultant, told Denver 7 that motives are hard to determine. David Firester said some people may don clown costumes to scare people.
He said others may report seeing clowns just to get out of going to school.
He also said there could be more sinister reasons.
“If you have threats to malls in the area or other public institutions,” he said, “it’s not just a case of wanting to get out of school.”
Meanwhile, a police chief in Pevely, Missouri, is voicing concerns about clown vigilantes after officers encountered men with guns hunting a clown in the woods.
Police Capt. Tony Moutray is worried, the St. Louis Post/Dispatch reported, “especially with vigilantes added to the mix.” Anonymous callers have reported clown sightings to Pevely police at least five times in the past week. One caller claimed the clown was wielding a knife.
After police got several calls late Tuesday about a clown in the woods behind the Pevely Pointe apartments, officers encountered several armed people in the woods. They had heard about the reported clown sighting on Facebook and came to help.
“There are vigilantes armed as, for lack of a better term, ‘clown hunters,’” Moutray said. He’s afraid someone — a costumed trick-or-treater, a ‘vigilante’ or an officer — could get hurt amid the hysteria.
Parents are aggravated because little children are being frightened by the reports, Moutray said. He promises a heavy police presence on Halloween night.
Moutray suspects he’s being hoaxed.
Each time, police in this town of about 5,500 people went to investigate. Officers even spent an hour traipsing in the woods searching for a culprit who may have been armed with a knife. Not once have they found a clown, or seen any cellphone footage of what the caller reported.
“We have yet to find this mysterious clown,” said Moutray, who believes the local reports are a hoax mimicking what’s happened elsewhere.
There have now been official clown sightings reported in Arkansas and Oregon, bringing the total number of states affected by the clown epidemic to at least 22.
Via Fox News:
Authorities in Arkansas implemented a zero-tolerance policy against the creepy clowns that keep haunting residents. Cross County Sheriff J.R. Smith posted a message on Facebook Tuesday to announce that the county had seen a clown sighting. Smith said there’s been one report of four men dressed as clowns in Wynne. Smith said he’s not going to tolerate the intimidation tactics of the creepy individuals.
“If someone wishes to dress up and conceal their identity with the intent to scare or harass our citizens, they will be arrested and transported to the sheriff’s office,” Smith wrote on the social media page. “Not one citizen should be or will be subjected to this act of foolishness.”
Via Oregon Live:
According to News Channel 21 in Central Oregon, police responded to a call of a “clown sighting” on Wednesday evening at 10:30 p.m. at a Redmond intersection.
“An employee working at Central Oregon Eyecare called dispatch to report she was leaving work when she saw a person wearing a clown mask with teeth, white t-shirt and blue pants,” said Channel 21 in their report. “She became scared and wanted officers to escort her to her vehicle in the parking lot.”
Take a deep breath. It gets worse. Police were unable to find the alleged terror clown.
PJ Media has previously reported that clowns have been spotted in at least eleven states — South Carolina, North Carolina, Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Maryland, Georgia, New York, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Arizona and Nevada— alarming residents and frustrating law enforcement.
We can add Arkansas and Oregon to the list.
More of the latest clown news can be found in PJ Media’s Weekly Clown Round-Up.