Silent clowns 'terrorising' US town will be arrested, say police after at least eight sightings
Any person dressed as a clown in a South Carolina town could face arrest after reports of mystery figures frightening members of the public, police say.
Residents of Greenville have been told to call police if they see any clowns, following reports that people donning luminous noses and oversized shoes may be trying to lure children into woods in the town
Police have warned anyone 'politely terrorising' the town in clown outfits could face charges, warning: “We will arrest you. We don't want to, but we will.”
Greenville police added there is an order that prohibits “molesting, disturbing or following persons”.
“It's illegal. It's dangerous. It's inappropriate, and it's creating community concern so it needs to stop,” explained Greenville Police Chief Ken Miller to Grenville Online.
“They only stand in an area to be seen and watch the reaction of individual.”
He added that the “clowning around needs to stop”.
Deputies were called last week to an apartment complex where people had reported seeing creepy clowns. Officers said they found no evidence of anyone in the woods behind.
A family later reported that their child had seen a man wearing a clown mask in woods at another nearby apartment complex.
There was a third report from a 12-year-old who said they saw someone dressed as a clown in the back yard of another complex.
The latest sighting was reported by a woman who saw a man in a clown outfit standing outside a laundrette silently staring at her.
“This is something that we’re taking very seriously, especially because of the allegations of people dressed in clown outfits trying to lure children into the woods,” said Master Deputy Ryan Flood.
Jessie Owen, a 29-year-old Greenville mother-of-two, said she was concerned about the clown reports.
“I will usually let my son play in our backyard where I can see him from the kitchen, but now I won't let him go outside the house without me,” she told Reuters.
“All it would take is one second. One promise of candy and he would be gone.”
One theory is that the clowns are a PR stunt connected to the release of the independent horror movie 31, by director Rob Zombie.
In the UK, a mystery clown was previously spotted roaming the streets of Portsmouth ‘scaring’ strangers.
At a glance - Strange clown activity around the world
* In 2014, police in Agade, France, arrested 14 teenagers who were dressed as clowns, carrying weapons.
* A man known as the Northampton Clown terrified children and caused parents to become irate when he dressed as a clown and stood on street corners.
* In 2013, Lincolnshire police warned residents that there had been a spate of people dressing as clowns and intimidating locals.
* Also in 2013, police in Kings Lynn warned residents to stay away from clowns after reports of men dressed up in clown outfits terrifying residents.
* Again in 2013, a man known as the Mansfield Clown was known for terrifying residents in Nottinghamshire.
* In 2013, in Normanton, near Wakefield, West Yorkshire, residents urged police to take action after clowns were spotted scaring residents.