NEW YORK, NY (CBS) – There are growing concerns following creepy clown sightings across the country and it’s no laughing matter. It’s a trend spooking the nation, and now they are threatening school districts.
Police and homeland security are investigating scary Instagram posts in Philadelphia. The posts from over the weekend all use the word clown, some even talk about blowing up schools.
The unusual reports started surfacing back in august in Greenville, South Carolina. Children told police that clowns tried luring them into woods by offering money. Since then sightings keep increasing.
On New York’s Long Island, social media threats from anonymous clown accounts kept elementary children inside during recess. Parent Khalique Owens is concerned.
“Nobody knows how to defend against it because we don’t know if it’s a prank or they’ll harm people,” Owens said.
Now police are using social media to track down the costumed offenders.
In LaGrange, Georgia, police posted warrants for four people on charges of making terroristic threats and disrupting public schools. In Kentucky, a man was arrested for trying to scare people in a ditch.
Police have arrested at least 12 people across the United States for participating in menacing stunts or making false reports.
In Houston, an Instagram post shows clowns threatening to kidnap students or kill teachers.
“This would make me drive my daughter to and from school and maybe walk inside to get her instead of her walking to the car by herself,” said Rochelle Hudson, parent.
And for anyone who thinks this is a laughing matter, police say there is at least one deadly incident linked to a clown hoax. In Reading, Pennsylvania, a 16-year-old was stabbed to death in a dispute. He was wearing a clown mask. A 29-year-old now faces first degree murder charges in the case.
According to the Tribune Chronicle, a Braceville resident reported seeing a person dressed as a clown walking in a wooded area in the 1080 block of Braceville Robinson Road Sunday. Someone also called the Trumbull County 911 Center around 8 p.m. to report that an individual wearing a clown outfit was walking in the wooded area near the caller’s home, a 911 spokesman said.
The township is among a growing number of local communities now added to a list of cities and towns in several states where clown sightings have been reported.
On Saturday, the county 911 center received reports that several children saw a clown in a wooded area near the Forest Ridge Court Apartments and by state Route 46 in Weathersfield.