Scary clown trend hits Sylvan Lake

Sylvan Lake RCMP are not amused by a hoax scary clown incident earlier this month.

The scary clown trend has hit Sylvan Lake and RCMP are not amused.

Police monitoring social media came across what appeared to be a possibly criminal incident in which a clown chased a teen out of a playground to a residence on Oct. 5.

The clown then stood outside the door before fleeing.

Police investigated and determined it was a hoax. Both the clown and the person fleeing were in on it together and posted it for fun.

RCMP Sgt. Jeff McBeth takes a dim view of the “prank,” which spawned a couple of other alleged scary clown sightings in town by concerned residents.

The fake incident, which was posted on a Facebook page dedicated to Sylvan Lake happenings, appeared real enough to trigger further investigation.

Scary clown incidents have been popping up in cities all across North America and even in Europe. Children have been terrorized and pedestrians stalked menacingly and a number of charges have been laid.

McBeth said police can’t dismiss what could be a criminal incident as a prank without checking it out.

“We treat every complaint that comes into us as legitimate until we can prove otherwise,” he said.

“We have to enter into every investigation with the best intentions of we’re going to gather the facts and we’re going to gather the evidence.

“Then we’ll make a determination based on the evidence and the facts, not on, ‘Hey, this looks staged or I don’t think they’re telling the truth.’”

In this case, valuable police time was wasted getting to the bottom of the prank.

Police aren’t releasing much information because all involved are young offenders. But a youth was arrested on Thursday and a mischief charge is being considered.

McBeth said the teens crossed the line with this prank.

“When you put it on a social media with likely the intent to scare the public — which is, in fact, what I believe it did because then we started having other multiple sightings of clowns — then it’s gone far beyond anything you likely wanted it to do.”

Halloween is all about dressing up and having fun. But if gets to the point someone feels threatened, police will get involved.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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