Creepy clowns are beginning to plague the tri-state area, according to CBS New York.
Sightings of people dressed as clowns have scared people across the country since August, and seem to be moving to the northeast. On Sunday, the NYPD 190th precinct posted a Tweet that read, “The increase in creepy clown sightings is dangerous. It causes panic & alarm. Please don’t take part in this #109pct”.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Two Universities in Connecticut Have Reported Sightings of Clowns
In Connecticut, social media reports of clown sightings have come from Quinnipiac University and UConn. The Hartford Courant writes, “Some posted they had seen a clown on each campus while also reporting that the universities had locked down, though both schools did not.”
On Monday evening, according to the Hartford Courant, a series of tweets revealed that Quinnipiac University was on lockdown after a clown was spotted on campus. However, the university’s Twitter page shot back with a statement saying the school had not been shut down and that “all campus operations” were operating normally.
2. Multiple Reports Have Come From New Jersey
As of last Wednesday, police had received four reports of clown sightings in 48 hours, according to Pix11.
Authorities have told residents to stay calm and be “aware of their surroundings”.
Clown sightings in NJ began in Phillipsburg, and have since spread. According to Pix11, a boy from Phillipsburg claims he was chased down by a person in a clown mask. The terror doesn’t end with New Jersey, though– multiple schools in Suffolk County were put on lockdown after receiving Twitter threats from a Long Island clown account.
3. New York Police Say Clowns In NYC Are Online Jokers
Despite the ensuing panic, authorities in NYC are saying the clowns are mostly online jokers, and that citizens should not give in to the hype.
When asked about the reported creepy clown sightings, Deputy Commissioner John Miller told CBS that the New York department whose job is to protect the city from terrorism, has deemed the clown threats harmless. “We’re tracking it but we don’t see any real threat here. We have tried to avoid falling into the trap of putting extra police protection or presence in places where we’ve had these.”
4. Police in NJ Have Instructed Children to Scream and Kick If a Stranger Grabs Them
In September, as children were heading back to school, New Jersey state police released a set of safety tips in light of the clown trend sweeping the area. They have instructed parents to advise their children to keep away from strangers asking for directions, and to scream and kick if they are grabbed. Police have also urged children and students to walk in groups.
5. A Car of Clowns Was Recently Tracked Down and Arrested in New Jersey
On Wednesday, a car full of people in clown masks was “reportedly terrorizing victims in another vehicle while driving in Fair Lawn, N.J. early Wednesday morning”, according to Pix11.
The 24-year-old victim from Hawthorne told police that she and another passenger were driving on Route 23 when a black Toyota pulled up to them at about 1am. The woman told authorities that the people in the vehicle were wearing clown masks and “hanging out the windows yelling at the victims.” Sgt. Brian Metzler told Pix11, “She said they were waving their hands at her. The victim didn’t know if they had weapons. She called 911.”
Police were able to track down the car, which resulted in the arrest of Connor Moreno, 18, who was found in possession with a knife and marijuana. The driver, Cortney Thissen, was also administered a traffic summons for reckless driving.