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"Clown Hysteria" hits Great Falls - KXLF.com | Continuous News | Butte, Montana

"Clown Hysteria" hits Great Falls

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GREAT FALLS -

The Great Falls Police Department has shared information about "clown sightings" in the community recently.

KRTV, the CBS affiliate in Great Falls, has received several messages from Great Falls residents asking about such incidents.

The station has also received several unconfirmed reports of at least one clown sighting in town, but have not been able to confirm that it actually happened.

Reports have surfaced that someone using the name "Billy Clowne" on Facebook, who lists his home as Great Falls, has been threatening people in the community.

The Great Falls Police Department issued this statement Tuesday afternoon:

CLOWN HYSTERIA - There have been many reports, across the country, of people dressing up as clowns and going out into public; seemingly as a way to shock or scare community members. The tragic aspect to this seemingly innocuous trend is that people have been hurt and even killed.

The craze has now extended into social media as some folks are apparently creating online profiles and threatening bodily harm or death to other users.

Great Falls is not immune to the shenanigans of those responsible for the ridiculous and potentially dangerous behavior described above. We have received reports of “clown sightings” in our community, as well as threats to local residents via social media.

In the absence of suspicious or unlawful behavior, there is nothing illegal about someone walking down the street, riding in a vehicle or hanging out at a public park dressed as a clown. Some are even reputable, professional entertainers. Dressing in a costume is not a violation of any city ordinance or state statute.

While this trend may seem like a laughing matter, there could be serious consequences:

1. Those who threaten violence, in person or online, may face criminal charges.

2. We advise those who may choose to exploit this craze by donning a clown costume in public, to rethink their decision, as they could become a victim of violence.

3. If residents attack or hurt anyone merely because of their attire, they are subject to criminal charges.

4. Finally, we take any report of violation of law seriously and investigate accordingly. If someone makes a false report of a suspicious or threatening incident criminal charges could result.

We believe most of the cases throughout the nation can be attributed to people with overactive imaginations, some pulling pranks, and others with their own reasons for adding to the hysteria.

Please do not participate in this foolish craze and save your law enforcement resources for where they are needed most.

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