CT professor discusses clown sightings, threats - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CT professor discusses clown sightings, threats

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NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -

After a surge of threats involving clowns, a Connecticut professor explained why more sightings and threats were expected in the coming days.

Despite numerous claims being debunked, threats involving creepy clowns continue to appear on social media and caused some schools to take action because of them.

At least four different school districts have received these scary clown-related threats in the last few days.

The first reported creepy clown sightings took place in South Carolina in August by some children, who told the sinister tale of a group of clowns living in an abandoned house in the woods. The children told police they were trying to entice them with money to follow them.  A tale that quickly spread to social media. 

Naugatuck police arrested two teens for posting what appears to be threatening clown messages on social media.   

"The scary clowns’ sightings, are an interesting phenomenon of social media,” John DeCarlo, who is an associate professor at the University of New Haven in the department of criminal justice

DeCarlo is also a former chief for the Branford Police Department. DeCarlo said the more the tales of demonic clowns were shared, the more sightings will pop up. 

“Copycatting is not a new kind of thing, in situations like this very often. I recall when I was a police officer,” DeCarlo said. “We would get copycat bomb scares. Kids would pull alarms, just to get out of school. It's something very often that young people do for the thrill of it and i think we will see more with Halloween coming."

Samantha Cota and her group of friends won't be taking part in the creepy clown trend this Halloween.

"Not me, personally I wouldn't want to be mistaken for one of those clowns, god forbid,” Cota said.

"It's terrifying not knowing where it's somebody being a joke or someone who's not kidding that's kind of terrifying especially with Halloween coming around and little kids are out,” Colette duMont said. “And they say oh it's a clown, but it might be a bad person." 

DeCarlo said police will still investigate these stories to make sure there's nothing to them.    

“I think the police will be able to keep their communities informed and be reasonable about it,” DeCarlo said.

Those two students were charged with disorderly conduct and conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct for making threats toward Naugatuck schools.

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