The nationwide clown problem struck the Inland Empire with social media threats and sightings across Riverside County, leading to the arrest of three teenage clowns.
The hype began in August with a clown sighting in Greenview, South Carolina, and has instigated more than 100 clown outings in more than 28 states since its occurrence.
The social media threats that come with these sightings have resulted in school closures and multiple arrests, including that of the “Fontana Killer Clown.”
According to a release by the Fontana Police Department, he was attempting to scare people and gain followers on social media.
FPD is aware of and monitoring the situation. The department has received several calls and social media inquiries claiming subjects who are dressed as clowns are making threats.
Recently, an individual in a clown outfit holding a fake knife was videotaped in front of Vail Ranch Middle School in Temecula. Since the video was released, Temecula police have placed the 15-year-old perpetrator under arrest.
“The juvenile was booked into juvenile hall for criminal terrorist and bomb threats,” Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said in a press release.
More than 100 cities across the U.S. are facing similar threats and sightings from various clown accounts across social media.
“We will be at all high schools this Friday to either kidnap students or kill teachers going to their cars,” a Facebook profile titled “Ain’t Clownin Around” said in a post, ending with the hashtag #WeNotClowninAround.
This profile’s social media threats have since been removed.
“While most of these ‘creepy clown’ threats turn out to be hoaxes, RPD takes all such threats seriously and provides resources to protect the community and to investigate the threats,” said Carl Baker, city of Redlands public information officer. “The department works with the school district, the District Attorney’s Office and other appropriate agencies to ensure that those perpetrating such hoaxes are held accountable.”
Clowns have also been spotted in Riverside, according to multiple social media postings.
“I like how I spend all week in Anaheim and no clowns,” said Brittney Ozmun, psychology student at the University of California, Irvine, in a tweet Oct. 7. “Ten minutes in Riverside and I see a clown.”
Ryan Railsback, city of Riverside public information officer, has received calls reporting people dressed as clowns walking around at night.
“There haven’t been reports of them making threats or causing violence,”
As of right now, California Baptist University has not been plagued with clown activity.
“There have been no reports of such activity on the CBU campus and initial concerns about such activities seem to be waning,” said Jim Walters, director of Public Safety.
“As always, Public Safety will respond to any safety concerns or reports of unusual circumstances,” Walters said.