Reports of “killer clowns” have emerged in three new states, as Virginia, Florida and Colorado struggle with Internet rumors and reported sightings that have left several towns shaken.
Residents and authorities in Palm Bay, Fla., have been on high alert since a resident reported seeing two “creepy clowns” staring at her from across a road as she walked her dog. And in Marion County, Fla., deputies are concerned after it emerged that a Facebook viral video, depicting a clown standing silently on the side of the road in the dark, had been filmed along a main thoroughfare in the area.
The video has more than a million views on Facebook.
In Henrico County, Va., a mother and daughter captured a “creepy clown” leering at them from another car during rush hour.
The clown matches the description of another creepy carnival act, reported to be hanging out near the edge of a forest in nearby Augusta County, Va. Authorities there responded to a 911 call from a father fishing with his two children just after 9 p.m. on Saturday.
— Channing Frampton (@WHSVChanning) September 26, 2016
According to the police report, the father “was approached by two separate vehicles leaving the area at a high rate of speed. Both vehicles stopped to warn him that several people in the adjacent woodland area were dressed up as clowns. According to the caller, the people leaving the area were pretty upset over the clown sightings.”
Authorities were not able to locate the clowns.
Perhaps the most serious clown-related incident this week happened in Greeley, Colo., where a clown-oriented Facebook post threatened a shooting on Halloween night, and claimed that clowns were planning to attack two area schools.
Greeley Police say that the threats, while unnerving, are not credible.
They and the Weld County District Attorney’s office are not taking the clown threat sitting down, however, and have issued a warning that anyone caught wearing a clown costume and threatening community members will be dealt with harshly.
— Weld County DA (@WeldCountyDA) September 27, 2016
Impersonating a clown for nefarious purposes, Weld County says, is a felony and could carry with it a jail sentence of up to 18 months.