VANCOUVER — The “creepy clown” social-media-fuelled frenzy that is causing fear and bizarre behaviour in the United States appears to have spread to B.C.
Langley RCMP reported that several boys were terrified Wednesday morning when two older teenagers dressed as clowns jumped out from behind some bushes and chased them as they were walking to Stafford Middle School.
RCMP Cpl. Holly Largy said the incident happened in the morning, but was reported to RCMP by the school principal about 4 p.m. It is believed the teens were pulling a prank on the younger boys, and she said police are not recommending charges.
“No one was injured and I don’t think there was any intent to harm anyone,” she said, but cautioned that the situation would become serious if someone is harmed during one of these “clowning” pranks.
On Thursday, two teenagers were arrested in a separate clowning incident after a threat prompted Prince George schools to go on lockdown in the morning. Prince George RCMP said two teens, 16- and 17-year-old boys, were arrested at an area high school.
A photo posted on an Instagram account called “princegeorgeclowns,” but later deleted, shows a cartoon of three people wearing creepy clown masks and holding firearms with the caption “every school in PG about to get hit,” according to a Prince George Citizen report.
The social-media phenomenon, in which people dress up like Stephen King-style bozos to frighten or unnerve others, seems to be gaining momentum ahead of Halloween. Many social media users are posting photos of clown sightings to Twitter accounts such as @SpookyClowns, which had more than 184,000 followers as of Thursday morning.
Vancouver police Sgt. Brian Montague said Thursday the department had received no complaints about clown incidents or attacks in the city.
The latest hysteria began in August, when police responded to reports of eerie jesters trying to lure children into the woods in South Carolina. At the time, the Associated Press reported that after the first complaint on Aug 29, several more children came forward to say they were worried about people lurking around their neighbourhoods dressed as clowns.
While most of the incidents are happening in the U.S., there have been a few reports in Canada. A 24-year-old man was arrested Tuesday in Clark’s Harbour, N.S., after witnesses reported that a suspect in a clown mask had grabbed a boy’s clothing. In Halifax, police confirmed they were investigating after a photo posted on social media appeared to show a clown standing outside a high school.
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