UPDATE: LaGrange PD says there is no proof to clown sightings in area
LAGRANGE, GA (WTVM) - The LaGrange Police Department wants to make it clear they're not clowning around when it comes to their community's safety.
On Monday night, they said in a Facebook status that they had received several calls from residents who spotted clowns in a van and in wooded areas trying to talk to children.
"This behavior is not cute or funny," LPD state in their post. "Understand that if officers see this behavior, you're going to have a conversation with them. And, if applicable, you may face criminal charges."
A social media firestorm, playing on a scene out of a horror movie- claims of clown sightings trying to lure children and hurt adults.This narrative has now made it's way to LaGrange, prompting dozens of concerned residents to call the police.
"These posting indicated that, 'these creepy clowns were going to come to a local school and commit crimes at the schools here in our jurisdiction,'" LPD Lt. Dale Strickland said.
Police took to Facebook to quell concerns. Resident chimed in, saying things like "don't be surprised if you get a piece of lead between your eyes messing with kids."
Officials say fear and sentiments like this would make it a bad, and possibly dangerous, and an illegal joke to play in the midst of this clown hysteria.
"We have not gotten any credible physical evidence that indicates that there are any clowns, driving in any white vehicle or van, in our city, attempting to commit crimes," Lt. Strickland said.
Again, no one has called the police claiming to directly have seen any clowns - despite the circulation of rumors online.
The post comes after multiple law enforcement agencies were called to investigate clown sightings in South Carolina. Alleged clown sightings have also been reported in North Carolina, but have either been debunked or linked to teen pranksters. The first reported threatening clown sighting in South Carolina was reported in late August.
Deputies in Greenville County, SC said the clowns were initially seen in wooded areas, where they reportedly tried to encourage children to join them, but the situation escalated to reports that clowns were also knocking on the doors of homes.
Investigators said no conclusive photo or video evidence has surfaced and no suspects have been named in any of the incidents.
Reported clown sightings have also been made in northeast Georgia. In McDuffie County, GA, two such sightings have been reported to law enforcement since Sunday.
One thing is for certain, though – when it comes to potential threats against residents, especially children, the LPD don't play that.
Residents are asked to contact police if suspicious activity is spotted in the area.
In the state of Georgia, it is illegal to wear a mask, hood or any other device that conceals a person's identity in public or on private property without the owner's permission.
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