ST. GEORGE — A man dressed as a clown and his female accomplice had their 4-year-old child taken by the State of Wisconsin and are facing child neglect charges after leaving the child home alone while they frightened a Wisconsin neighborhood.
Officers were dispatched to the neighborhood just before 4 a.m. Friday following 911 reports of people wearing clown masks chasing after vehicles in the area, the City of Menasha Police Department said in a statement.
Police dash cam footage released by the department (shown in the video player above) shows officers approaching two men, ages 20 and 29, who were dressed as clowns and allegedly involved in the “creepy clown” incident.
Officers also found a 26-year-old woman inside a vehicle in the area who had been driving the two men around, according to the Police Department.
“During the course of the investigation,” Menasha Police said, “it was determined that the 29-year-old male and 26-year-old female had left their 4-year-old child at home unattended for a minimum of a few hours while they were out participating in this prank.”
As a result, the 4-year-old child was placed by the Department of Human Services outside of the home, police said, and the parents were referred to court on child neglect charges. The woman was also held in the Winnebago County Jail on a probation hold.
The 20-year-old man was not charged in the incident, according to police.
Since the first report of two clowns in Greenville, South Carolina, trying to lure kids into the woods, an epidemic of threatening clown sightings has been spreading across the United States, including Southern Utah.
The clown frenzy has resulted in communities feeling threatened as well as reports of children afraid to go to school or leave their homes. Some clown-related threats on social media have prompted schools to go on lockout while police in some areas have been making arrests.
“Social media does almost as much bad as it does good,” St. George Police Officer Lona Trombley said, noting that the clown situation has been frustrating, as most of the circulating information causing people to feel frightened has been unfounded rumors.
Hurricane City Police officials said last week that charges would be pursued against anyone found making clown-related threats in their jurisdiction.
“Hurricane City Police Department is taking this matter very serious because this is such a huge issue and people are very frightened,” the department said. “If we locate individuals wearing masks and causing alarming behavior, fear or injury to citizens, criminal charges will be pursued.”
In addition to law enforcement’s time and resources being wasted in light of unfounded clown-related threats, the Enoch City Police Department brought another concerning matter to the forefront.
“Please use caution doing pranks that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their life. Your joke could have very serious consequences,” Enoch City Police officials said, noting that many of the city’s 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.”
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