Scary clown rumors were spooking Tri-Citians this week.
Several threats first appeared on social media Tuesday night, but police reported no actual sightings, threats or arrests.
Kennewick police said they found two local groups using Twitter to encourage scary clown sightings or huntings.
“Several hundred local youth have been identified through social media along with the license plate of a known participant,” police said on Facebook. “We understand that this newfound trend may seem like harmless fun, but there are many instances in which it can become dangerous.”
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Richland Capt. Mike Cobb said he doesn’t believe there is any truth to one rumor that a clown was seen at Howard Amon Park, which comes after nationwide reports of people seen wandering around in creepy clown costumes.
The Pasco School District released a statement Wednesday saying they heard there could be “clown activity” in the area. School officials said they were working with Pasco police to keep an eye out for any threats and asked the public to notify officers if they see any unsafe or unusual activity.
“School districts across the state are dealing with similar reports,” said the Pasco district’s website. “Please remind your children to follow their safe walking routes and report concerns to trusted adults.”
If you're engaging in conduct that causes public alarm, like wearing a clown suit and acting weird to intentionally scare people, you may be committing a crime.
Hermiston Police Department
Highland School District in Cowiche announced school closures Wednesday after they received clown-related threats.
Yakima Public Schools also received several “creepy clown messages on social media.” But Yakima schools stayed open, though extra police patrols were added.
In Hermiston, police reported “at least one scary clown wandering around town.”
“If you're engaging in conduct that causes public alarm, like wearing a clown suit and acting weird to intentionally scare people, you may be committing a crime,” Hermiston police said on Facebook.
There also are theories that a movie titled 31 may have prompted the sightings, though law enforcement agencies nationwide can’t confirm that.