ISU Police: Campus clown crisis proves no credible threat

Woodruff says ‘There is no need to be afraid of clowns’
Illinois State University Police Chief Aaron Woodruff said there is no credible threat of dangerous clowns on campus after students jumped into a frenzy Monday night of alleged reported sightings.

Monday night, local Twitter, Facebook and Yik Yak accounts were flooded with reports of clown sightings across the ISU campus and nearby area.

Twitter accounts like @ClownWatchUSA and @ClownSighting are now used for the sole purpose of reporting alleged clown sightings across the country. These profiles, as well as many others, have been deleted. Illinois State was featured on accounts like these Monday night.

These social media reports included clowns sighted by Turner Hall, the Alamo II, the railroad crossing at Fell Avenue and an arrest outside of Insomnia Cookies.

Woodruff stated that only one confirmed clown sighting has been reported and the suspects were caught.

The reported instance involved a car with students wearing clown masks yelling at two girls walking on the sidewalk. The girls reported the event to local police and Normal Police were able to locate the car with the alleged suspects. The girls who reported the crime do not wish to press harassment charges.

This is the only incident reported that has proved not to be fiction, according to Woodruff. This was not related to the alleged arrest outside of Insomnia Cookies.

“There is no need to be afraid of clowns,” Woodruff said.

Woodruff warns that the more attention is drawn to these actions, the more copycats will emerge and the more anxiety will be brought to students and community members.

He stresses that merely wearing a clown mask will not automatically result in an arrest, but further action that could be seen as potentially dangerous or harmful to others may.

If any suspicious activity is seen, students should call the police rather than just post on their social media profiles. Also, Woodruff would like to remind students that if they are ever feeling unsafe, they can call Redbird Safe Walk and an officer will escort them to their destination.

Anyone who has witnessed suspicious behavior should call the police immediately by dialing 911.

See my related Editorial here.


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