Creepy clowns started as Halloween stunt in Wasco

Leo Stallworth Image
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Creepy clowns started as Halloween stunt in Wasco
Creepy clowns have been popping up in the Bakersfield area. It all started when a couple photographed themselves in clown costumes and posted them on social media. Now, copycat clowns are putting residents on edge.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KABC) -- To get into the Halloween spirit, a couple photographed themselves in clown costumes in the community of Wasco near Bakersfield and posted them on social media. It has since received a lot of attention - not all of it positive.

Copy cats have taken it to a whole other frightening level by dressing up like clowns, stalking neighborhoods and scaring people. Bakersfield police say last week, they arrested a teenager who was terrorizing kids in the 800 block of Pacheco Road. He told officials he was perpetuating a hoax he saw on the Internet.

"He was dressed as a clown, chasing kids trying to scare them," said Sgt. Joseph Grubbs. When asked if the juvenile committed a crime, Grubbs replied, "Annoying juvenile, yes, that is a crime."

Police say they have gotten upwards of two dozen calls within the last week from eyewitnesses claiming they were scared after seeing creepy looking clowns around their neighborhood.

"We had one report where a woman called and said she saw someone dressed in a clown costume in front of her residence and she thought he was armed. Her husband went out to check on it and couldn't find anybody, we went out and checked on it and couldn't find anybody," Grubbs said.

Bakersfield resident Hope Payne said she hasn't seen any clowns in her neighborhood, but she felt scared when she went outside of her home to lock her car the other night.

"I think our society is going to pot. It's just a really bad thing," said Michael Kephart, another Bakersfield resident.

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The Kern County Sheriff's Department is also getting multiple calls about frightening clown sightings.

"I believe it was Thursday afternoon, we received a call, a report about a person dressed as a clown carrying a knife out in the southeast part of Bakersfield," said Ray Pruitt with the sheriff's department.

Pruitt says deputies responded to the scene and found nothing.

"We believe that the calls that we received were, for the most part, pranks that were coming in," Pruitt said.

Police want to make it clear that there is nothing wrong with anyone dressing up like a clown and roaming a neighborhood.

"If they want to dress in a clown outfit and walk down the street, ride in a car that is certainly OK," Grubbs said. "We would appreciate it if you don't try to frighten people or wield any weapons at anybody or anything like that."