Sheboygan police report a man wearing a clown mask was arrested Wednesday night on a charge of illegally carrying a concealed weapon.
Officers responded to the area of North 3rd and Erie Avenue around 11:30 PM after receiving calls from neighbors reporting a man was running down the alley.
The 20-year-old suspect was searched, and police say they found a clown mask in the man’s possession. Once it was uncovered the man had criminal history, he was then arrested once the knife he was also carrying was discovered.
Police are clear: the arrest in particular had nothing to do with the mask.
But police also say they’ve received several calls lately reporting sightings of people dressed in clown costumes.
“This is something that I think is being propagated by social media,” says Sgt. Shannon McKay. “It becomes alarming to people in the community, so therefore it’s something that we take very seriously.”
On Wednesday night, Sgt. McKay says it wasn’t the clown mask that made them suspicious of a 20-year-old suspect after another sighting.
“The officer saw the subject running in an alleyway, which was suspicious in nature,” clarifies McKay. “So the officer made contact with the subject.”
With Halloween around the corner, any other costume this year might get a break.
But this year, “creepy clown” sightings–from North Carolina, to Pennsylvania–are coming with tales of clowns trying to lure kids into the woods.
In Pennsylvania, 12-year-old Brianne Hawke tells reporters about a clown that started chasing her and friends before returning to the woods.
“[We] turned around, [it] broke a stick, and threw it at us, and started calling us, cursing at us,” says Hawke. “It was scary.”
This week in Milwaukee, a fake clown’s Facebook account threatened five separate school shootings. Milwaukee police traced it back to a 15-year-old Kewaskum girl.
In the wake of these series of clown sightings, police making it clear: while it’s not illegal to wear a clown mask, what you do while you’re wearing it could equate to illegal activity.
“Trespassing, creating disturbances, trying to harass.. or create fear in the citizens,” lists Sgt. McKay, “that’s something that we will take action regarding.”
Police urge people: do not try to take the law into your own hands.
If you see suspicious activity, call 911 and report it.