Local authorities warn would-be clowns

Published 12:29 am Wednesday, September 21, 2016

It’s no secret that menacing clowns have made their way into the news in Alabama in the last week, but the Covington County District Attorney is issuing a warning to those considering similar pranks in this county – don’t do it.

0921-clownbreaking-webThe office is also asking the public to stop spreading rumors, which are creating unnecessary worry.

Threats of clowns assaulting schools, luring children into wooded areas and more have been making their rounds on social media and even caused lockdowns in many Alabama schools.

DA Walt Merrell said there have been no confirmed reports of clown activity anywhere in Covington County.

“There have been a lot of rumors and a lot of disruptions, but nothing real,” he said.

The clown sightings began in August in the Carolinas, but have now made their way to Alabama.

Last week, two juvelines and a 22-year-old from Flomaton were arrested for posting cryptic-style messages on Facebook under the identities “Shoota Cllown” and
“Flomo Klown.” Prior to their arrests, there were several lockdowns in Escambia County schools.

In Troy, two juveniles were identified Monday for posing as clowns on social media. No charges have been filed in that case, but the Troy Police Department took control of the Facebook page.

In Daleville, clowns on social media posted threats which led to increased police presence at Daleville High School on Monday. Then a bomb threat was made on a mirror at Daleville High School, which lead to evacuations at DHS and Windham Elementary School.

There were several other cases around the state on Monday as well.

Merrell encouraged people to stop spreading rumors and stop posting social media information that can’t be confirmed.

“What we can confirm is that there are a few people who are spreading ‘Klown’ propaganda and it is causing unnecessary public inconvenience and worry,” he said. “STOP.”

Merrell reminded anyone considering making a clown threat to be mindful of the punishments.

“It is a felony offense to threaten, by any means to commit a crime of violence or to damage any property… by terrorizing another person, disrupting school activities or causing the evacuation of a building, place of assembly or facility or public transportation, or other serious public inconvenience,” he said. “Felony convictions land people in prison.”

Merrell said it’s also a misdemeanor to harass, annoy or alarm another person, and that misdemeanor charges carry up to a year in the county jail.