LAURINBURG —The summer saga of clown sightings may have reached Laurinburg.
Police say there have been two separate reports from Laurinburg residents who say they have seen someone dressed as a clown near Cleveland Street this week. The local sightings come on the heels of reports in North Carolina and South Carolina and elsewhere of people in clown costumes trying to lure kids into the woods with candy.
Laurinburg Police Chief Darwin “Duke” Williams said one resident reported what appeared to be the “shadow of a clown” on someone’s porch. Another resident told police that a clown was spotted in the woods.
While the subjects were gone when officers arrived, Williams said police are taking the reports seriously.
“We responded to both reports and even got out and walked into the forest looking for any clowns,” Williams said.
In Greensboro, a witness told police that a person wearing a scary clown mask, red curly wig, yellow dotted shirt, blue clown pants and clown shoes exited the woods by an apartment complex around 10 a.m. Tuesday. Another witness chased down the clown with a machete, but was unable to catch up to it before it disappeared into the woods.
Officers searched the area but couldn’t find anyone matching the clown’s description. Greensboro police said the suspect this might be a copycat effort after similar reports over the past week.
The apartment property manager sent a letter to residents warning them to keep their children at home after curfew
A clown was also reportedly seen in Winston-Salem on Monday trying to lure children into the forest with treats
Last week, a 14-year-old Columbus, Ohio, boy was attacked by a man in a clown mask wielding a knife.
South Carolina law enforcement have also stepped up patrols after getting new reports of people dressed as clowns trying to lure children into the woods.
In a news release from the Greensboro Police Department, officials said it is lawful to dress as a clown, but “given the heightened tensions about these entertainers,” the department is “discouraging copycat behavior by individuals who may find it humorous to mimic the suspicious behavior that has parents on edge.”
Chief Williams agreed.
“People need to be careful …. someone dressed as a clown could end up getting killed if they step on the wrong person’s property,” he said.
Reach Nolan Gilmour at 910-276-2311