Pasco County deputies are on alert for an unlikely subject: a creepy clown.
- Threat posted on social media Friday
- Clowns threatened to abduct children, teachers at schools
- Clowns also spotted outside two Pinellas schools
Authorities said the clowns have been spotted in Hudson, Port Richey, and Holiday. The county’s school district sent out a robo call and a post on Facebook Friday telling parents there was a threat posted on Facebook and Twitter about the creepy clowns showing up at schools.
The schools themselves were placed on "Alert Campus" status, which means if you see something, say something.
Staying safe and looking out for anything suspicious is what parent Steve Purviance said he’s been teaching his kids for years.
“Well, it’s the same advice I always have given him since he’s been young. 'Don’t go anywhere with people you don’t know, especially a clown.'”
When asked about the threat, some parents couldn’t get past the laughs of someone posing as a clown.
“First I had to laugh," said Tracey Livingston. "But actually it’s just ridiculous to think some creepy clowns are going to be around scaring people, I mean, that’s horrible.”
Pinellas County schools had two similar incidents Friday where a clown was spotted outside schools. Pinellas County, however, isn’t considering this as a credible threat.
In Pasco, authorities say the sightings were a bit more sinister. In one instance, investigators said someone dressed as a clown friended young people on Facebook, then asked one kid to meet in the park after dark.
It’s a scary thought for the parents, who would much rather just laugh this off as a joke.
“Unfortunately, a symbol of a clown can certainly lure some young children or our younger population," said Kim Weierheiser. "So it’s a concern, especially if people are taking advantage of that.”
With Friday's threat in mind, Pasco deputies are giving a stern warning to copy cats. They’re also are reminding people that filing false reports about one of these sightings is a crime, and they aren’t taking it lightly.
There have been other cases nationwide involving people dressed as clowns, some of them scarier than others. If you encounter one, especially near a school, you’re asked to contact authorities.