Police deal with clown sightings

Published 11:57 am Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Are there malicious clowns in Lunenburg County?

Kenbridge Police Chief Raymond Hite said there haven’t been any sightings in his town. Victoria, on the other hand, might have had the real thing or copycats earlier this month.

People in other states, especially South Carolina, but North Carolina, too, have claimed people dressed as clowns have been doing everything from standing creepily along wooded paths to knocking on doors of homes and running away.

Most recently, police in Annapolis, Md., reported children claimed to have seen at least one person wearing a clown costume and face paint there. Children in Greenville, S.C., have claimed clowns tried to lure them into the woods, sometimes with candy.

The problem is figuring out whether sightings not only in, but outside of South Carolina, where the phenomenon began, are of the same people moving up the East Coast, or copycats acting out because of media attention. “We had calls on 9th Street and on Mecklenburg Avenue,” Victoria Police Chief H.K. Phillips said of a pair of sightings during the last two weeks.

Phillips said both sightings involved people either wearing clown masks or painted up to look like clowns. A car was reported in the 9th Street sighting. In the Mecklenburg Avenue report, Phillips said, children claimed they were chased by a clown.

“But we never found anyone or a car matching the description. No one was harmed. We suspect kids were being kids, playing into the media reports,” he said.

Phillips said children should use common sense and report anything suspicious to their parents who, in turn, should call the Victoria Police Department at (434) 696-2334 or (434) 696-4452, or call 911. Lunenburg County Sheriff Arthur Townsend said his department has no knowledge of anything happening in relation to clowns in the county.