What authorities say about the clown sightings in Washington

What authorities say about the clown sightings in Washington

File photo

Several people have shared posts and messages with KIRO 7 News about reports of clown sightings in wooded areas of the South Sound and masked individuals walking around in cities in the North Sound.

KIRO 7 News contacted police amid reports for a question-and-answer section, below.

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What are some of the South Sound reports?

According to the News Tribune, people reported seeing men dressed as creepy clowns near South Hill and Graham.

Pierce County sheriff's deputies arrested a 17-year-old junior at Rogers High School in connection with a series of clown-related threats that resulted in the school being placed into a modified lockdown during lunch Tuesday.

What are some of the North Sound reports?

A KIRO 7 viewer posted on our Facebook page that she had seen a clown at a gas station in Lynnwood.

Clown at AMPM in Lynnwood Washington on 196th street...

Posted by Peewee Nuno on Sunday, October 2, 2016

Another person posted to the KIRO 7 Facebook page that she had seen one on a sidewalk.

"Saw a creepy clown on the sidewalk in Lynwood/Edmonds area last night. Wasn't trying to lure anyone from what I could tell, but still absolutely terrifying. He was on the ground on hands and knees waving to us as we passed by in cars at the street light," said Gabriella Morrow.

What are authorities saying about the reports?

KIRO 7 News contacted the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office and the Lynnwood Police Department.

Lynnwood police said they received calls between 6 and 11 p.m. Sunday about clowns around the city.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office did not have information on times when they received clown reports in the South Sound.

Is there any indication of criminal history?

KIRO 7 News asked Pierce County and Lynnwood authorities on Monday if any of the sightings will be investigated as harassment.

In other states, people have been arrested for making false reports of clown threats or chasing people while costumed.

A Lynnwood police spokesman told KIRO 7 News that the reports on Sunday evening were “non-criminal in nature.”

"The 'sightings' from last evening in Lynnwood were benign in nature.  There were no reports of the individual(s) doing anything illegal.  In at least one of the reports, the caller indicated the person was not doing anything harassing in nature," the department said in a statement.

Pierce County Sheriff's Office spokesman told the Tacoma News Tribune that "it's not illegal to be a clown."

"They're probably jumping on the bandwagon of what's been going on around the country," sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer

By Wednesday, Pierce County deputies announced the arrest at Rogers High School in connection with a series of clown-related threat. The boy is being booked into Remann Hall Wednesday on three counts of felony harassment and one count of false reporting.

What’s an example of a false reports in Washington state?

A person sent a photo to KIRO 7 News in a message saying, “Everyone in Everett be safe. There are a few clowns out tonight. Just saw them walking down 112th while I was driving.”




The photo in the message is from a false report out of North Carolina, where people said clowns were seen near a high school.

How did the nationwide scare start?

Across the nation, creepy clown sightings were reported in Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and now Washington state.

The creepy clown sightings began in the Carolinas, where parents were on edge after about a half-dozen reports of the menacing clowns trying to lure children to wooded areas.

A majority of the reports were first made in a smattering of North Carolina cities. None of the reports have been substantiated, according to police, and at least one person there was accused of making up a confrontation with a clown.

What should I do if I see a clown?  

The question sounds bizarre, but the hashtag #IfISeeAClown is trending. And as though the hashtag makes light of the situation, police around the country are advising the following tips if you see a clown around your neighborhood.

  • Parents should talk to their children about walking in groups.
  • The old rule of not talking to strangers still applies.
  • If you are approached, get away to someplace safe.
  • Report any suspicious activity to police.