Fort Worth

Clown threats likely pranks, but DFW-area police investigating

Clown shoes with noses
Clown shoes with noses Getty Images/iStock photo

Clown threats are increasing in North Texas, and local authorities are responding.

Clown threats?

Yes, you read it right. Police departments and schools say they’re probably just pranks, but they’re taking them seriously.

Creepy clown sightings have spread across the country. Some clowns were harassing people in Ohio, luring children into the woods in South Carolina or scaring people in Maryland. Many other reports have been discredited as hoaxes.

Closer to home, several unsubstantiated sightings have been reported recently, but online threats have sparked fear and statements by authorities. A 16-year-old girl was arrested Tuesday in River Oaks after she made a fake Twitter account to scare her friend, but it was sent along and seen by authorities, according to WFAA.

Overnight, the clown threats popped up in North Texas towns such as Keller, Southlake and Denton, according to their police departments.

In Denton, a post mentioned several Denton schools and said, “I will kill the teachers ... and kidnap all the kids ... so BEWARE!!!!” The user then posted, “It’s a prank guys I love all of you I am against clowns as well I just don’t want them to kill me,” according to the Denton Police Department, which is investigating.

In Keller, an Instagram user posted a picture of a clown near a fence with the caption, “Keller High school I’ve arrived.” The photo is easily found online and was taken in England in 2014, police said.

“We believe these to be the work of pranksters in the area, but will be investigating any credible threats to the Keller community and its student population,” Keller police posted on the department’s Facebook page.

These threats are probably just hoaxes, police said, but they could be criminal.

“Teens: A ‘joke’ isn’t worth a terroristic threat charge,” Keller police tweeted Tuesday.

“To the pranksters: We encourage you to keep in mind that certain types of threats, particularly against schools, can be prosecuted as felonies. Also, that many Texans carry firearms. We would hate to see any tragedies come out of an early Halloween joke.”

Monday night in Southlake, police responded to multiple calls about clowns in two places near the city’s border with Keller, but the clowns left before officers arrived.

“While individuals may think the hoax is all fun and games, the Southlake Police Department is warning that participation in this kind of activity can lead to serious consequences,” Southlake police wrote on their Facebook page.

In an email to students, faculty and staff, TCU “encouraged” people to not participate in the prank.

Euless school admistrators released a statement regarding the “hoax,” saying the district is taking it seriously and urged anyone to report suspicious behavior to police or school officials.

The Safety Brigade in the Keller Fire Department usually dresses as fire safety clowns, according to the city, but this week will dress as pirates.

Denton police said officer Latrice Pettaway may be talking to internal affairs investigators about her social media post in which she recommended someone “pop a cap in the first clown you see,” according to The Dallas Morning News.

Mark David Smith: 817-390-7808, @MarkSmith_FWST

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