STAMFORD, Conn. -- An eight-year-old's "imagination" is being blamed as Stamford Police responded to Stillmeadow School Wednesday after the student reported seeing a pair of clowns near the school armed with knives Wednesday, police said.
During recess a group of students were talking about the clown phenomenon when one eight year old reported seeing a pair of clowns armed with knives, Stamford Police said.
The students were taken indoors and police were called. There was no lockdown of the school.
"The school grounds and surrounding area were checked with negative results," said the police report said Sgt. Robert Shawinsky. "A subsequent interview with the child and his friends determined that the child's imagination got the best of him."
It's part of a bizarre trend of clown sightings across the country and in Connecticut that has scared residents.
While it is not illegal to dress as a clown, it is illegal to do so with the intent of causing alarm, according to the Connecticut State Police.
Individuals dressing as clowns and engaging in threatening or alarming behavior will be immediately addressed by law enforcement, police said.
Moreover, creating social media pages inciting violence or alluding to creating fear in the communities will not be tolerated and will be handled as criminal matters.
"We want to remind everyone that your online actions are not anonymous. We will continue working with social media companies to identify those inappropriately using social media to cause panic. At least five individuals have already been taken into custody in our state for engaging in this behavior," Connecticut State Police said in a press release.
There are many other emergencies and calls for service that troopers and other first responders need to get to without being misdirected to a prank, police said.
These incidents are similar in swatting to the swatting incidents police have dealt with in the past where resources are carelessly misdirected. Situations such as these waste valuable resources and can lead to injuries to both first responders and members of the public, said police.
These clown pranks can cause major disruptions leading to schools, businesses and neighborhoods being placed into lockdown unnecessarily, according to Connecticut State Police.
Earlier in the week, Stamford police reportedly investigated a "clown threat" made on social media , according to the Stamford Advocate.
School Superintendent Earl Kim issued a robocall to parents advising them of the threat and investigation, the Stamford Advocate reported. Kim did not go into details about the threat, but said it was similar in nature to clown sightings that have been reported across the nation since mid-August, according to the Stamford Advocate.
A clown sighting was reported on Fairfield University's campus Monday night but was later determined to be a prank, according to the Department of Public Safety.
The Fairfield University Department of Public Safety said it received calls from students reporting the sighting of clowns on campus, the department said in a Facebook post Tuesday. The incidents were later confirmed as a prank and the individual involved has been identified.
A clown sighting was also reported on the campus of Western Connecticut State University in Danbury.
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