Resident: Clownchased in woodsnear Tara Village

By Nolan Gilmour - [email protected]

LAURINBURG — There has been another clown sighting in Laurinburg.

This latest one — the third this week in the city — came Thursday behind the Tara Village apartment complex off Bulter Street.

The man was described as tall and slender, wearing street clothes and a clown mask.

According to the resident, the masked figure fled the complex after a member of the complex’s maintenance crew chased him. It was said the man got into a grey truck near Food Lion and a female drove them away.

“I’m a grown woman and I’m scared,” said the resident.

The police said they are checking the security cameras at Scotland Crossing shopping center.

“This could just be a copy-cat trying to scare people,” said Laurinburg Police Capt. Terry Chavis.

Police say there have also been two separate reports from Laurinburg residents who say there was someone dressed as a clown near Cleveland Street. The sightings follow at least dozen reports in North Carolina and South Carolina and elsewhere of people in clown costumes trying to lure children into the woods.

In Greenville County, S.C., deputies increased patrols recently after getting new reports of people dressed as clowns trying to lure children into the woods. In Winston-Salem, police are also doing extra patrols in a neighborhood after two children reported seeing a clown trying to lure kids into the woods with treats on Sunday night.

Some police departments also worry that some of the sightings have been made up. On Friday in Winston-Salem, David Armstrong was charged for filing a false police report, where he said a clown knocked on his window before he chased it into the woods.

“We realize that fear regarding incidents involving clowns in South Carolina has spread and, unfortunately some are using it to play pranks,” Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office said after getting two bogus claims about seeing clowns near schools. “To many this is not a joking matter. Baseless and false reports take away from the Sheriff’s Office resources and ability to work other criminal investigations.”

Laurinburg police say they are taking the reports here seriously.

Still famed horror author Stephen King told the Bangor Daily News that he was skeptical of the sightings. King’s novel, “IT,” features a supernatural being that takes the form of a clown to prey on children.

“I suspect it’s a kind of low-level hysteria, like Slender Man, or the so-called Bunny Man, who purportedly lurked in Fairfax County, Virginia, wearing a white hood with long ears and attacking people with a hatchet or axe,” King told the newspaper. “The clown furor will pass, as these things do, but it will come back, because under the right circumstances, clowns really can be terrifying.”

By Nolan Gilmour

[email protected]

Reach Nolan Gilmour at 910-506-3171. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Reach Nolan Gilmour at 910-506-3171. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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