A “creepy clown” was arrested in Australia on Sunday after menacing a woman with an axe, police in the southeastern state of Victoria revealed on Tuesday. The clown, who turned out to be a 23-year-old man whose name was not released, was arrested outside a fast-food restaurant after reports came in to Victoria Police of a man in a clown mask approaching vehicles as they passed through the drive-through lane at the restaurant.
The incident took place in in the small town of Moe, Victoria, about 81 miles southeast of Melbourne, Australia, the police reported.
“Police received a number of calls from members of the public regarding a person wearing a clown mask at a fast food restaurant on the Princes Freeway about 3:30 a.m. (on Sunday). Investigators were told the man, armed with an axe, approached a woman who was in her car alone on Lloyd Street,” the Victoria police stated in a written statement. “It is also believed the same man then approached a number of cars who were exiting the drive-through of the fast food restaurant.”
When officers showed up to investigate the latest of what have been numerous creepy clown sightings in Victoria, witnesses on the scene said they knew nothing about it. But when the police searched several cars in the area, inside of one they found “a clown mask, axe and baseball bat.”
The suspect was arrested and released, but is expected to be charged with assault, weapons violations and what police called “disguise-related offenses.”
Police had another message for Victoria residents, however.
“There are a lot of people in the community who are feeling fearful about what is being called the ‘clown purge,'” the statement said. “We understand that some people are getting involved for a bit of fun, however this arrest is a timely reminder that this behavior is not amusing, and in many cases, it is criminal behavior.”
Possession of a disguise can be punished by up to two years in prison, under Australian law, the police noted.
The arrest comes days after a wave of “creepy clown” sightings that have been plaguing the United States in recent weeks was reported to be spreading to Australia.
“A U.S. trend of people dressing up as creepy clowns in public has come to Victoria, prompting local police to warn antisocial behavior will not be tolerated,” the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported last week.
A number of clowns had been sighted in Melbourne, according to the Australian news site News.com.au, though Victoria police would not release details of locations where clown have been seen, or the number of people in clown attire involved.
Clowns have also been sighted in the Australian state of New South Wales, which borders Victoria to the north. A Facebook Page, Clown Sightings Australia, has been created to keep track of clown sightings Down Under.
“Please be aware that 90 percent of these clowns that are supposedly roaming the streets of Australia are just people with nothing better to do. When they make threats, don’t be scared. They aren’t hackers who will find out every detail about you and where you live. Just ignore stuff like this,” the Clown Sightings Australia page said in a post Monday.
“The other 10 percent of clowns are clowns who either:
• Were going to commit a crime beforehand, and then decided they’ll do it as a clown due to the trend.
• Drunk/Drugged idiots
• Maniacs who wont do anything more than damage property and threaten people, and even this is rare.
“The actual ‘THREAT of clowns’ is not as bad as you think, but the only problem is, we don’t know which clowns are serious, and which clowns are joking around.”
Whether the 23-year-old man arrested as a creepy clown in Moe, Victoria, on Sunday was serious in his threats or not remains unclear.