A creepy-clown art project has put the Bakersfield area on-edge after copycats have been spotted on the streets, with one arrest of a clown-suited teen who allegedly stalked another, police said.
All this is happening, of course, in the weeks before Halloween, adding an extra dose of shivers to the week-old phenomenon.
However, so far none of the most macabre reports, including one of a clown with a gun and another of a clown with a machete, have been verified, Baskerfield police Sgt. Joseph Grubbs told us.
The most frightening aspect of the Wasco Clown project (named for a town north of Bakersfield) wannabes appears to be your imagination.
The only arrest in the clown scare so far happened Thursday in the 800 block of Pacheco Road when a teen girl complained that someone dressed as a clown was chasing her as she made her way home from school that afternoon, Grubbs said.
The 14-year-old suspect was located at his home and arrested on suspicion of child annoyance, he said.
"He was chasing kids, trying to frighten them," the sergeant said. "His purpose was to perpetuate the clown hoax."
I am the creepy, evil-looking clown that is roaming the streets of Wasco, California at night. Come Find Me I will give you a balloon.
One of the earliest copycat reports, last week, was of a clown carrying a machete, Grubbs said. But cops tracked that clown down and no weapons were found, he said.
Another reporting party said a clown was carrying a gun, but police could not locate such a suspect, Grubbs said.
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Clown-related police calls doubled from 10 last week to 20 over the weekend, he said. But police emphasized that there's nothing illegal per se about being a clown.
"If somebody dressed as a clown, or not, is threatening someone with a weapon or holding a weapon in a threatening manner, we want to know," Grubbs said. "But it's not against the law to be dressed up as a clown."