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Oklahoma Hit by Creepy Clown Hysteria

12-Oct-2016

What started as reports of sinister clowns lurking in the woods near an apartment complex in South Carolina has spread to social media-fueled hysteria over a creepy clown epidemic across the nation. Now, the clown hoax has made its way into Oklahoma and the Oklahoma City metro.

In virtually all of the cases--especially the earliest reported sightings of clowns--police were unable to verify the reports or uncover any evidence that someone dressed as a clown had been loitering in any area. However, since those initial reports spread so quickly over social media--often accompanied by images unrelated to the purported sighting--people have actually been arrested for dressing as clowns and frightening people in public. However, typically, these clowns are nothing more than pranksters who think it is funny to scare someone, and not truly threatening "killer clowns" trying to lure children away from their homes.

In Wagoner, Oklahoma, an adult male was arrested outside a fast food restaurant, where he was dressed as a clown and "singing scary songs." When police arrived, they discovered Jaren Hooten dressed as a clown and arrested him on an outstanding warrant.

In Moore, Oklahoma, concerned residents confronted two young men were dressed as clowns and scaring children at a local park. According to one witness, one of the clowns ran off when residents approached them, but another stayed to listen to the neighbors concerns. Witness Danielle Looper reportedly told the young man, "You got to think about this. You're making a choice that is not only scary and worrisome for our neighborhood, but it is a stupid choice on your part. Someone is going to end up hurting you because they don't know you're playing around."

In Midwest City, a 12-year-old girl was reportedly suspended from school for telling her friends that her mother saw a "creepy clown" walking up and down their street last week.

At Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, campus police were inundated with calls about a sinister clown on campus, including rumors that the clown had stabbed someone--yet no evidence of a clown, much less a stabbing, was discovered.

And people have started reporting clown sightings on social media in areas all over the metro, including south Oklahoma City, a park at SW 59 and Western, and U.S. Grant High School. For those frightened by tales of killer clowns roaming Oklahoma City, it is important to distinguish between sightings reported to police and "sightings" only reported on social media.

For those looking to "cash in" on a little hysteria by dressing up as clowns and intimidating or scaring the children and adults they encounter, it is important to keep in mind that doing so is a crime:

It shall be unlawful for any person in this state to wear a mask, hood or covering, which conceals the identity of the wearer during the commission of a crime or for the purpose of coercion, intimidation or harassment; provided, the provisions of Section 1301 et seq. of this title shall not apply to the pranks of children on Halloween, to those going to, or from, or participating in masquerade parties, to those participating in any public parade or exhibition of an educational, religious or historical character, to those participating in any meeting of any organization within any building or enclosure wholly within and under the control of said organization, and to those participating in the parades or exhibitions of minstrel troupes, circuses or other amusements or dramatic shows. Any person, or persons, violating the provisions of this section, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than Fifty Dollars ($50.00) nor more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period of not exceeding one (1) year, or by both such fine and imprisonment. ( 21 O.S. § 1301)

Sure, killer clowns are real--remember John Wayne Gacy, the notorious serial killer who raped and murdered at least 33 young men and boys? But the biggest threats related to clowns in OKC are to the clowns themselves, who are facing arrest, or worse, being physically harmed by someone who doesn't think the "joke" is funny.
 




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