Recent mysterious sightings of creepy clowns in the Carolinas have triggered fears among local residents - and drawn attention across the country.
This week, North Carolina had a wave of reported clown sightings, in areas near Greensboro and Winston-Salem.
On Tuesday, as reported on TODAY.com, a woman called police to report a clown lurking in the woods behind her apartment complex in Greensboro. As she was reporting the incident, her husband, Chris Bass, chased the red-haired man, said to have been dressed in blue Aladdin pants, a polka-dot shirt, clown shoes and a white mask or white face paint, into the woods with a machete. The clown escaped.
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Police are still investigating the reported incidents, though the Cleveland County Sheriff’s office also warned residents not to call in false clown reports. They posted a message on their Facebook page:
In South Carolina, police in Lexington also received reports this week, including multiple sightings in which two individuals, one dressed as a clown and the other as a bear, reportedly tried to convince children to get into their vehicle. Multiple children between 8 and 11 said that a clown asked them to get into his car. At least one child reported seeing a man in a bear suit. Parents who live in the area are concerned, and police say they're taking the reports seriously.
Police in Greenville, S.C., received numerous reports of clowns lurking near wooded areas near schools and behind apartment complexes. A 12-year-old reported seeing two clowns behind a residential complex taking photos of children, according to local media reports.
Theories that this is part of a viral marketing scheme have been bounced around online, and so far, none of the alleged clowns has been caught committing an actual crime. City and county police departments have warned parents to keep an eye on their children and to make sure children do not play in wooded areas alone at night.