This is not a Halloween prank. The Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the Dutchess County Department of Emergency Response, issued a warning on Tuesday about some people in clown costumes acting suspiciously and even committing crimes.
Recently, people in clown costumes committing illegal or suspicious acts have been reported in numerous places throughout the country, according to Capt. John Watterson, a spokesman with the Dutchess Sheriff's Office.
False reports about so-called "creepy clowns" also are being spread maliciously via social media, Watterson said.
"Over the last few days some have been reported in Dutchess County as well," Watterson said Tuesday afternoon.
These “creepy clown” reports have caused alarm in some communities nationwide and have been frustrating for first responders, as many of the reports have been proven to be hoaxes.
The following information is offered to assist the people of Dutchess County and surrounding areas in dealing with these situations:
-- At this time there is no reason for panic or alarm as a result of these reports. Some of the incidents reported have been legitimate; however the vast majority of reported “creepy clown” incidents have turned out to be hoaxes and/or pranks.
-- If someone is acting suspiciously, whether or not they are wearing a clown costume, report it to law enforcement.
-- Much of the hysteria surrounding the “creepy clowns” has been fueled by the internet. Don’t believe everything that you read on social media.
-- There appear to be two aspects to this phenomenon – those who actually dress in clown costumes to commit suspicious/illegal acts, and those who are reporting clown sightings as pranks to try and cause alarm.
-- If you are confronted with a “creepy clown” or other suspicious person, do not take matters into your own hands, flee if you can and contact law enforcement as soon as possible.
Dutchess County Sheriff Adrian “Butch” Anderson said, “We are aware of the threats that have been made and are taking the proper precautions to ensure Dutchess County residents are as safe as possible. The safety and security of Dutchess County residents is our top priority, and we take any threat against them seriously. We will pursue every threat that is made against our community.”
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “While some might view this as a prank, let me be clear: This is not funny; it is a serious offense. Anyone who threatens Dutchess County residents will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. Additionally, people need to be responsible with what is shared on social media and avoid fueling fears with unsubstantiated information.”
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