Send in the Clown Complaints: Spate of Reports Raises Alarm - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Send in the Clown Complaints: Spate of Reports Raises Alarm

Posted: Updated:

By JOE MANDAK, Associated Press
    
PITTSBURGH (AP)- Police are encouraging caution amid a rash of public complaints and social media reports in a number of states of people dressed like clowns and acting suspiciously, even if they think many are knucklehead pranksters or simply bogus.
    
Real clowns are just plain miffed.
    
Authorities in Greenville, South Carolina, were among the first to report a clown-related incident in recent weeks. Late last month, some children reported clowns trying to lure them into the woods with money. Sheriff's deputies found no evidence, however, not even a prankster in a clown suit.
    
But for whatever reason, since then, people in Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina and now, Pennsylvania, have reported scary or suspicious encounters with people dressed like clowns.
    
"When people report these things it should be 'someone dressed like a clown,' because a real clown would never dress or do anything to scare anyone," said Tricia Manuel, 55, who runs Mooseburger Clown Arts Camp in Buffalo, Minnesota. The camp, named for her alter ego, Pricilla Mooseburger, trains about 100 clowns each year.
    
She said she has been following the reports closely because they are hurting business.
    
"In South Carolina, two of the clowns were afraid to go out and perform, and they're two of my customers," said Manuel, whose two children are also clowns. "If they don't perform, they don't need supplies."
    
Some of the reported sightings have been hoaxes, like the four young children who told police they made up stories about spotting clowns in unusual places in and around Annapolis, Maryland, or the 24-year-old man whom police in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, charged with falsely reporting that a clown knocked on his window.
    
Other related cases weren't so harmless and have resulted in criminal charges.
    
The sheriff in Escambia County, Alabama, last week arrested a 22-year-old woman and two juveniles after Flomaton High School was locked down and searched when students were threatened on "Flomo Klown" and "Shoota Cllown" social media accounts. And in Athens, Georgia, an 11-year-old girl was arrested for taking a knife to school on Friday because she was frightened by social media reports and other rumors that clowns were preparing to attack children.
    
The Pennsylvania reports and law-enforcement response have, so far, been more low key. Police want to encourage people to report suspicious behavior without aggravating matters.
    
Albert Walker, the police chief in northeastern Pennsylvania's Hanover Township, has stepped up patrols along the Sans Souci Parkway after Facebook posts about a clown in nearby woods.
    
But the chief chose his words carefully in describing his department's connection to any other clown sightings.
    
"Peripherally we're connected to it, but not directly," Walker said. "It was a social media post that identified the possibility of an alleged sighting of an individual dressed as a clown along one of our main highways."
    
Pottsville Police Chief Richard Wojciechowsky said there appeared to be more to a clown-related incident reported Monday evening in his borough, about 90 miles northwest of Philadelphia - but still no cause for alarm.
    
"Two knuckleheads with clown-like clothes on" hopped out of a pickup truck and yelled at a group of young children and teenagers, the chief said.
    
"It wasn't a physical threat or a violent act. At best, (it's) a misguided juvenile prank," the chief said. "Some of the older kids weren't even frightened."
    
The Pennsylvania State Police are investigating recent unspecified clown sightings in the towns of Huntingdon and Ebensburg, where a woman said a clown peeped through her window. Trooper Adam Reed said citizens should "not confront the individual but rather gather information and report it to your local police."
    
Manuel said the public's perception of clowns has been going downhill since Stephen King's 1986 novel about a child-killing clown, "It," became a TV miniseries four years later. But the latest incidents take the cake.
    
"We are used to 'Killer Klowns from Outer Space' and Krusty the Clown, but this has taken it to another level," Manuel said. "It's another thing to have people act out these sick fantasies. This is like, 'Are you kidding me?'"

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Lincon Man Charged with 6th DUI Offense

    Lincon Man Charged with 6th DUI Offense

    11/20/2017 10:48:00 -05:002017-11-20 15:48:00 GMT
    Monday, November 20 2017 11:39 AM EST2017-11-20 16:39:43 GMT
    Kervy RileyKervy Riley
    A Lincoln man has been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol for the sixth time.More
    A Lincoln, Delaware man has been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol for the sixth time.More
  • Former Smyrna Middle Teacher Pleads Guilty to Sex With Students

    Former Smyrna Middle Teacher Pleads Guilty to Sex With Students

    11/20/2017 07:40:00 -05:002017-11-20 12:40:00 GMT
    Monday, November 20 2017 7:43 AM EST2017-11-20 12:43:02 GMT
    Karen BrooksKaren Brooks
    A former teacher at Smyrna Middle School in Delaware has pleaded guilty to fourth-degree rape after she admitted to a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old boy.More
    A former teacher at Smyrna Middle School in Delaware has pleaded guilty to fourth-degree rape after she admitted to a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old boy.More
  • Virginia House GOP Elects its Leadership Team

    Virginia House GOP Elects its Leadership Team

    11/20/2017 07:31:00 -05:002017-11-20 12:31:00 GMT
    Monday, November 20 2017 7:31 AM EST2017-11-20 12:31:24 GMT
    The Virginia General AssemblyThe Virginia General Assembly
    Republicans in Virginia's House of Delegates have elected their leadership team and choice for speaker, all while Democrats hope recounts can flip the chamber from GOP control.More
    Republicans in Virginia's House of Delegates have elected their leadership team and choice for speaker, all while Democrats hope recounts can flip the chamber from GOP control.More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Former Smyrna Middle Teacher Pleads Guilty to Sex With Students

    Former Smyrna Middle Teacher Pleads Guilty to Sex With Students

    11/20/2017 07:40:00 -05:002017-11-20 12:40:00 GMT
    Monday, November 20 2017 7:43 AM EST2017-11-20 12:43:02 GMT
    Karen BrooksKaren Brooks
    A former teacher at Smyrna Middle School in Delaware has pleaded guilty to fourth-degree rape after she admitted to a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old boy.More
    A former teacher at Smyrna Middle School in Delaware has pleaded guilty to fourth-degree rape after she admitted to a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old boy.More
  • Bridgeville Meth Bust Made In Transit

    Bridgeville Meth Bust Made In Transit

    11/19/2017 18:12:00 -05:002017-11-19 23:12:00 GMT
    Sunday, November 19 2017 6:12 PM EST2017-11-19 23:12:22 GMT
    Delaware State Police arrested a Greenwood man after a traffic stop revealed methamphetamine in the car.More
    Delaware State Police arrested a Greenwood man after a traffic stop revealed methamphetamine in the car.More
  • Shots Fired at Slaughter Beach Home

    Shots Fired at Slaughter Beach Home

    11/19/2017 20:14:00 -05:002017-11-20 01:14:00 GMT
    Sunday, November 19 2017 8:22 PM EST2017-11-20 01:22:52 GMT
    The Delaware State Police are currently investigating an incident in which shots were fired at a home on Bay Avenue.More
    The Delaware State Police are currently investigating an incident in which shots were fired at a home on Bay Avenue.More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • "Hood Fight Salisbury" Cell Phone Videos

    "Hood Fight Salisbury" Cell Phone Videos

    27 cell phone videos depicting brutal streets fights among teenagers in Salisbury were posted online. Local leaders including the Mayor, State's Attorney and a Reverend react to the media.More
    27 cell phone videos depicting brutal streets fights among teenagers in Salisbury were posted online. Local leaders including the Mayor, State's Attorney and a Reverend react to the media.More
  • Two Milford Shootings Prompt Investigations

    Two Milford Shootings Prompt Investigations

    Milford Police are investigating a pair of overnight shootings. The first took place in the 200 block of Northwest 3rd Street around 2:18 am. It’s been reported an unknown male suspect shot a male victim twice and at an occupied home striking it multiple times. The second shooting took place in the 300 block of Northwest 4th Street at approximately 5:09 am, where a suspect or multiple suspects shot and struck an unoccupied parked vehicle.

    More

    Milford Police are investigating a pair of overnight shootings. The first took place in the 200 block of Northwest 3rd Street around 2:18 am. It’s been reported an unknown male suspect shot a male victim twice and at an occupied home striking it multiple times. The second shooting took place in the 300 block of Northwest 4th Street at approximately 5:09 am, where a suspect or multiple suspects shot and struck an unoccupied parked vehicle.

    More
  • Chincoteague's Oldest Saltwater Cowboy Dies at 78

    Chincoteague's Oldest Saltwater Cowboy Dies at 78

    Many today mourned the loss of the oldest Chincoteague Saltwater Cowboy. Wesley Bloxom was best known for his passion and involvement in the Chincoteague Pony Swim, one of Delmarva's biggest events. Today, his life was celebrated. Caroline Coles reports.

    More

    Many today mourned the loss of the oldest Chincoteague Saltwater Cowboy. Wesley Bloxom was best known for his passion and involvement in the Chincoteague Pony Swim, one of Delmarva's biggest events. Today, his life was celebrated. Caroline Coles reports.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices