Friday, Oct. 7, 2016
For Immediate Release
Contact: John Guilfoil
*Joint Release* West Newbury, Merrimac, Groveland Police Address Nationwide Clown Scare
WEST NEWBURY — West Newbury Chief Art Reed, Merrimac Chief Eric Shears and Groveland Deputy Police Chief Jeffrey Gillen are coming together to reassure the community that their police departments are actively monitoring the clown scare tactic currently sweeping the nation.
In August, parents in South Carolina were alarmed after a group of people dressed as clowns were reported as trying to lure children into the woods. Since then, numerous sightings of individuals in clown face paint and outfits, often times wielding weapons or acting suspicious, have been reported throughout the country.
Last week, a nationwide threat was made over Twitter targeting schools by a clown-related group. Although the threat has passed, police are actively monitoring any suspicious related activity in and around the Pentucket Regional School District. On Tuesday night, a Merrimack College dormitory in North Andover was evacuated after someone reported seeing an individual, dressed as a clown and carrying a weapon.
Similar incidents have been reported in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Nova Scotia, Canada.
Though no specific threat was made to the Pentucket Regional School District, Groveland and West Newbury police officers were stationed at all schools for early dismissal today.
“We are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of our students and staff,” Deputy Gillen said. “Parents should rest assured that we are monitoring the activity on social media and feel free to contact the department with concerns.”
“Any student, staff member, or resident who sees or hears of any suspicious activity regarding clowns should report it immediately,” Chief Reed said. “While there have not been any direct threats to the Pentucket Regional community, we do not tolerate this kind of harmful behavior.”
“Although it is not illegal to dress up as or impersonate a clown, it is considered destructive and reckless due to the climate currently surrounding this issue,” Chief Shears said. “With Halloween approaching, we encourage everyone to refrain from using this costume, as it may insight fear throughout the community.”
Any residents with questions or concerns should contact their local police department. West Newbury Police at 978-363-1213, Merrimac Police at 978-346-8321, or Groveland Police at 978-521-1212.