Clown sightings in Southern Utah, how law enforcement is responding

ST. GEORGE — The current epidemic of threatening clown sightings spreading across the United States has made its way to Southern Utah, and local law enforcement agencies aren’t laughing about it.

Since the first report of two clowns in Greenville, South Carolina, trying to lure kids into the woods, it appears nobody is laughing at clowns anymore.

As creepy clown reports continue circulating, before you know it there’s another idiot who actually dresses up or posts a threatening clown video on social media – prompting schools to go on lockout and send out warning letters, while police in some areas have been making arrests.

Locally, police would not immediately dispel a rumor spreading like wildfire in Washington County about a girl who was allegedly assaulted by a clown Tuesday night in Ivins, sustaining superficial cuts to her face and chest as a result of the attack. Santa Clara-Ivins Police confirmed they are investigating the allegation but did not immediately confirm or refute particulars of the incident.

“We’re still investigating it,” Santa Clara Ivins Police Public Information Officer Chad Holt said Wednesday afternoon. “She wasn’t stabbed – there’s no stabbing, but we’re still investigating it. We’re still trying to decide what happened there.”

Screenshot taken Oct. 6 at 3:50 p.m. of a clown-related threat posted on Instagram by St. George Killer Clowns | St. George News
Screenshot taken Oct. 6 at 3:50 p.m. of a clown-related threat posted on Instagram by St. George Killer Clowns | St. George News

St. George and Hurricane City police departments both reported that their officers have been investigating reports of clown sightings that had alarmed residents in their jurisdiction.

In addition to alleged clown sightings, multiple clown profiles have been popping up on Instagram, including StGeorgeKillerClowns, encouraging followers to tell the clown where to visit next.

“She’s on our hit list … ,” one Instagram post reads with an attached photo and name of the person being referred to in the post.

“For a highly requested place Pine View Middle here we come,” another post on the StGeorgeKillerClowns account reads.

St. George Police Officer Lona Trombley said Thursday that school resource officers have been made aware of the Instagram account and are working to get it shut down.

Officers successfully shut down another Instagram account this week – TheClownOfStGeorge – in which several followers told the clown to visit Pine View Middle School and Fossil Ridge Intermediate School.

Notwithstanding, St. George Police have found no credible clown threats that have been made, the Police Department said. It was not immediately clear whether charges will be filed in those clown-related threats, but Trombley said officers are investigating information received as to who is operating some of the social media accounts.

Hurricane City Police, however, offered a stern warning to people found clowning around in its jurisdiction.

“Hurricane City Police Department is taking this matter very serious because this is such a huge issue and people are very frightened,” the Police Department said in a statement. “If we locate individuals wearing masks and causing alarming behavior, fear or injury to citizens, criminal charges will be pursued.”

Hurricane City Police are encouraging people to be aware of the issue, to watch for suspicious activity and to report it immediately.

“We don’t want citizens to be alarmed regarding this,” the department said, “but use caution and common sense.”

Other Utah law enforcement agencies have also taken serious and swift action amid the creepy clown frenzy. According to The Associated Press, a high school student in northern Utah is facing criminal charges in connection to clown-related threats made against Logan High School. The clown-related threat came to the school’s attention Wednesday and a resource officer reportedly found no tangible threat.

Another Utah student has been referred to juvenile court to face two counts of communications harassment for making similar threats to Mt. Logan Middle School, The Associated Press reported Thursday.

As a precautionary measure, two schools in Ogden – Gramercy Elementary and Mount Fort Junior High – issued a lockout Monday in which no one outside of the school was allowed to enter after police received reports of a suspect dressed as a clown making threats to students at the schools, according to a statement issued by the Ogden Police Department.

School business inside continued as usual while officers investigated the incident spurred by a Facebook user with a picture of a clown making threats toward the schools. The Ogden Police Department said the investigation revealed nothing to show the threat was legitimate or credible.

If the threat of arrest and criminal charges or knowledge of law enforcement’s wasted time and resources isn’t enough for people to abandon the clown wagon, perhaps the reminder issued by the Enoch City Police Department Wednesday is:

Dear Clown, Over the last few days Enoch City residents have expressed concerns regarding clown pranks. Please use caution doing pranks that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their life. Your joke could have very serious consequences. Proudly, many Enoch City residents are Concealed Firearm Permit holders. Please do not force someone to make a decision that potentially has lifelong consequences. This is a dangerous game you are playing. Sincerely, Enoch City Police Department

Email: kscott@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

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14 Comments

  • dogmatic October 6, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    I thaught there was a law against profiling.
    Where is ACLU on this issue?
    Clown lives matter.

  • Scarlet October 6, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    TheClownOfStGeorge …..hahahahaha, too funny. Halloween is coming my friends, beware of the clown. The clowns are coming for you, use caution. Report all clown sightings on October 31st, these clowns are dangerous. No clowning around.

    • Ron October 7, 2016 at 10:43 am

      Hahaha….TheClownsofStGeorge, aka: St. George City Council.

      Now theres a scary bunch.

  • pappy October 6, 2016 at 11:30 pm

    I love the “Dear Clown” statement that the Enoch City P.D. made public.
    Do not trespass on my property, particularly after dark – prowler, there are consequences.

  • JOSH DALTON October 7, 2016 at 8:09 am

    Why can’t Untonians be original. This started in South Carolina, now kids in Utah are following suite. C’mon…you guys and girls doing this are stupid. Why not dress up like the state bird, the seagull. Then start terrorizing people. Just a bunch of trendy followers like the Girl pants Brigade and Gladiator Sandals Clique. Oh and you cant forget the Yoga Pants Crew. GET A LIFE! I agree “Clowns Lives Matter” If “They” had not banned the sale of the clown mask this stuff would have never have happened. GO FALCONS!!

  • .... October 7, 2016 at 8:28 am

    can we expect a school lock down at any school in St George if a clown is seen in the vicinity office a school any will the principal dial 911 ?

  • theone October 7, 2016 at 9:14 am

    And hear I thought we had enough clowns in politics.

  • theone October 7, 2016 at 9:29 am

    OOOps (here) would be the correct word.

  • .... October 7, 2016 at 10:36 am

    Can we expect a school lock down at any school in St George if a clown is seen in the vicinity of a school and will the principal call 911. ? ..or maybe they could just turn the neighborhood watch groups loose and hunt these clowns down and let them celebrate. .National Clown Beating awareness month ?

  • t October 7, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    Posting a clown picture is not a violation of the law and it is a protected First Ammendent right. Specific threatening language is not protected. A persons silly unreasonable fear of clown posts is not a legitimate law enforcement interest. However, law enforcement is following up on all citizen complaints related to any posts where a citizen may be uncomfortable. Citizens are alarmed because they feel uncomfortable and not by a factual and legitimate threat to public safety. As a result, law enforcement is reacting in an overzealous manner to appease theses uncomfortable and uniformed citizens. I would strongly urge law enforcement and school administrators to tread lightly regarding expressions of free speech, using school facilties for police related missions, school administrators acting at the direction of law enforcement in violation of the law, and law enforcement questioning subjects without reasonable suspicion or probable cause outside of Miranda warning. Overzealous and unlawful law enforcement action taken to quell an uncomfortable citizens irrational fear of clowns is a far more serious concern.

  • indy-vfr October 7, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    If I’m approached by one of these “clowns”, I’ll do what John Candy did to the clown in “Uncle Buck” – and I know I’d enjoy it!!

  • youcandoit October 7, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    Not to mention way back in time the kings used clowns to do their dirty work. I don’t understand this what about Halloween?

  • youcandoit October 7, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    People are taking things way too far what happened to committing a crime before accusing. This is Soooooo stupid

  • Natalie October 8, 2016 at 12:56 am

    The clown issue is disturbing, of course, but what’s more disturbing to me right now is this problematic and poorly-written article. A reporter’s job is not to impose her/his opinion on the subject matter, so phrases like “before you know it there’s another idiot…” show the writer’s bias and are, quite frankly, careless reporting. These news articles should allow people to come to their own conclusions about the issue—so the writer here needs to set her own opinion aside and stick to the facts.

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