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.”
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
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