Creepy clowns have gripped the nation over the past two months, terrifying children and parents in at least 39 states. While some reported clown sightings have turned out to be hoaxes, others have proven to be real threats, and have forced schools in some districts to close down.
The first reports came in late August in South Carolina, where people dressed as clowns tried to lure children into the woods with money. The craze has since spread to universities, where students are banding together to hunt the clowns terrorizing communities and campuses.
Read on for the rundown on the Creepy Clown attacks, timeline of reported sightings, arrests, states affected, and a lineup of info for the USA in 2016.
DATE OF FIRST SIGHTING:
August 29, 2016. Residents in Greenville County, South Carolina, reported seeing a person dressed in a clown costume try and lure children into the woods with money.
STATES WITH REPORTED SIGHTINGS:
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
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A Clown Lives Matter protest will be held in Tucson, Arizona, on Oct. 15, according to ABC15. According to Vibe, a flyer for the event reads, “This is a peaceful way to show clowns are not psycho killers. We want the public to feel safe, and not be afraid. So come out, bring the family, meet a clown and get a hug!” The protest was arranged by Snuggles the Clown, aka Jordan Jones, who believes that his reputation and career have been tarnished by the creepy clown craze.
The march will take place at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 15, on 4th Avenue in Tucson, Arizona. Attendees are invited to show up wearing full clown makeup or masks.
TOP 5 ARRESTS:
-On September 21, an 11-year-old girl in Georgia was arrested for bringing a knife to school. According to the International Business Times, she was trying to protect herself against the clowns, because she’d heard stories about clowns jumping out of the woods and attacking people.
– According to Amarillo, 21-year-old David Anthony Talbot-Smith was arrested on October 5. Talbot-Smith was dressed in clown garb at a local Walmart, “following cars leaving the parking lot and pushing carts towards customers.” He was arrested and booked into Randall County Jail.
– On October 6, three men in West Texas were caught carrying a clown mask, plastic machete, and a bat. The men, 24-year-old Ariel Salgado, 20-year-old Cesar Ortega and 18-year-old Aaron Villescas, were “just clowning around” in the words of CBS7, but “could have been easily shot at or attacked by scared residents, because in the dark there’s no telling whether or not their weapons are fake or real.”
– In Vermont, a 15-year-old wearing a clown mask was arrested for banging on classroom windows, reports WCAX.com. The article assured local residents there were no credible threats in the area.
– A 55-year-old man in Portland, Oregan, was arrested for wearing a clown mask and boxing gloves, and shadow boxing outside the windows of Floyd Light Middle School. According to KOIN 6, when the assistant principal went to speak to him, he “threatened him with violence and charged at him.”
TIMELINE OF SIGHTINGS & ATTACKS:
– August 29: Residents in Greenville County, South Carolina, report seeing a person dressed as a clown try to lure children into the woods with money.
– September 14: Three children in Georgia claim two men dressed as clowns chased them to their bus stop after 6am. According to ABC7, deputies said, “The neighbor girl, Hannah Rice, saw the clowns following the boys out from between two mobile homes before the chase.”
– September 15: A 22-year-old woman, Makayla Smith, was arrested for making “credible threats to students at Flomaton High School”, through a social media account that was later identified as ‘FLOMO KLOWN’ and ‘Shoota Cllown’, according to AL.com.
– September 21: A 12-year-old in Pennsylvania was chased through a local park by someone in a clown costume.
– September 24: The Tennessee Highway Patrol issued a warning to parents to “be on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary”, writes ABC7. They were asked to pay close attention to predators in clown garb.
– September 30: Two 17-year-old teens were arrested for robbing fast food restaurants in Phoenix, Arizona, in clown masks.
– October 3: Schools in New Haven, Connecticut, investigated threatening clown messages posted on social media. The account featured photos with captions that read “watch out” and “wait and see”.
– October 9: Gabriel Harding, 22, of Liberty, Kansas, was caught at a Liberty Price Chopper in a clown mask. Harding is on an outstanding warrant after “sometimes exiting his car and scaring people”, writes The Kansas City Star.
– October 10: One 14-year-old, and two 13-year-olds were arrested in New Mexico after someone called in a possible robbery. Police showed up to find three juveniles wearing clown masks and holding a gun near a Babies R Us store, according to Complex.
– October 11: A man in Indian Trail, North Carolina, was arrested at the Wilco convenience store after police found him wearing dark clothing, and clown face paint. When authorities looked in his backpack, they found marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and a hatchet.
“CLOWN LIVES MATTER” MEANING:
People who work as professional clowns have band together to form Clown Lives Matter, in an effort to prove that clowns are still safe. According to AOL.com, professional clowns have said they’ve lost business and money as a result of the creepy clown craze. One clown told AOL, “Everyone took this as a joke, but it’s really becoming serious now, and I just want all these teenagers to know this is not a game anymore.”
UNIVERSITIES THAT HAVE BEEN AFFECTED:
James Madison University, Penn State, Fairfield University, South Dakota State University, SUNY Geneseo, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Western Carolina University, University of New Hampshire, Belmont University, Indiana University
*Please note, all lists will be updated as more information becomes available.