Creepy clowns not just scaring people anymore; crimes reported across nation

Creepy clowns: sightings on the rise.

PHOENIX - From hanging onto the back of a city bus in Detroit to standing on a bridge with a pellet gun in upstate New York, creepy clowns are freaking people out across the country and here in the Phoenix area.

Local police agencies have reported people calling in suspicious sightings in various parts of metro Phoenix.

While it's not illegal for anyone to dress as a clown, officer Brandon Sheffert, a spokesperson for the Peoria Police Department, says some of the suspected creepy clowns are breaking the law.

“It crosses the line when anybody is making a threat whether it be in person or online or, for instance, going to a school where you can cause a disruption or fear,” Sheffert said.

That line has already been crossed in several states.

Police in Michigan say someone dressed as a creepy clown grabbed a boy on the street and cut him with a butter knife.

Here in the Valley, costumed clowns are accused of committing armed robbery, chasing kids with a baseball bat and making threats of violence towards students and schools.

“Not something to be messing around with,” said Sheffert, “There are some very significant consequences if you do that and it can be anything from school consequences to getting arrested.”

Sheffert says parents need to talk to their kids about what to do if they see something suspicious and also make sure they’re not engaging in any activity online or on their social media accounts that could get them in serious trouble.

“If anybody sees anything suspicious, obviously, call us,” he said. “We'd rather us come check it out and it be nothing.”

Copyright 2016 KPNX


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