DENVER -- It's not even Halloween yet, but creepy clowns have come out of the shadows in the South, where authorities are asking people to let police handle dozens of sightings which have been reported since last month.
Denver7 has compiled a list of incidents in each of the states where sightings have been reported, including an alleged sighting here in Colorado. While not all incidents are covered, these were the most prominent reports from local media outlets.
While there is little evidence of actual clown sightings in Alabama, reports of clowns showing up at schools across the state have prompted officials to increase security and at times, even place the buildings on "soft lockdowns."
A 16-year-old was arrested and charged with making terrorist threats on Monday after allegedly posting on Facebook a clown was going to show up and start shooting people at a middle school in Calhoun County in east Georgia, AL.com reports.
During a press conference, police said parents should remain vigilant about their child's social media activity.
This is where it all began.
Late in Aug., children in North Carolina said people dressed as clowns were trying to lure them into the woods with money. Sheriff's deputies, however, were not able to find any evidence of such clowns, according to the Chicago Tribune.
In Greenville, S.C., a woman reported seeing "several clowns in the woods flashing green laser lights” on Aug. 19, according to the Washington Post. Another resident reportedly told BuzzFeed News that his children described clowns in the woods that had chains, knives and who were trying to lure the children by offering them candy, the Post also reported.
Two girls in the state of Georgia claim a clown tried to chase them down on Thursday. Snapchat video taken by one of the girls shows a person dressed as a clown wave at them from the parking lot of their apartment complex while holding some sort of object. Police in Fort Oglethorpe, near the Tennessee border, said they’re taking the sightings seriously.
(Photo: Snapchat image of a clown in Georgia; Courtesy: WJBF-TV)
The latest sighting comes after two teens were cited for disorderly conduct on Sept. 16, after reportedly dressing as clowns and scaring people in McDuffie County, Ga.
In the city of Athens, an 11-year-old girl was arrested after reportedly bringing a knife to school because she was scared and "needed the weapon to fend off clowns."
In Glasgow (southern Ky.), police received multiple complaints from residents about people dressed in clown costumes scaring members of the public.
"Due to the recent social and mainstream media coverage, these incidents are placing the person dressing as a clown, and others in potential [sic] harmful situations," Kentucky authorities wrote in a news release, according to our ABC sister station WCPO-TV.
The Pennsylvania State Police was investigating "suspicious clown sightings" and "unknown actor(s) dressed as a clown" on Wednesday.
— Joe Elias (@josephmelias) September 21, 2016
No threats were made and no description of the clowns was ever given, according to the Newton Patch.
Police have asked residents to "use restraint and allow police to handle the situation," Philly.com reported.
A girl in northern Tennessee was arrested on charges of sending threatening text and Facebook messages to high school students with the message to "not to come to school tomorrow, clowns are coming to your school just to give you a heads up we are shooting it up," according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.
Others have reportedly staged pictures in clown suits "in an attempt to add credibility to their claims," a Knoxville Police Department press released stated, the Knoxville News Sentinel also reported.
-- What about Colorado? --
An article posted on Thursday that has been shared more than 28,000 times on Facebook claims a clown is chasing people in several Denver neighborhoods, including Sunnyside.
(Photo from alleged Denver clown sighting)
The article claims a viewer sent the above photo thinking "it was a joke at first until the clown actually chased him down the street speaking in a [sic] inaudible language."
But after doing some digging, Denver7 has found this image dates back to 2013 -- and was actually snapped from across the big pond.
So no need to worry Colorado, no creepy clowns have been spotted in the Rockies -- you can rest easy.