Clown hoaxes force po­lice to check pranks for real threats

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - NATION+WORLD -

Car­ry­ing golf clubs, shov­els and hockey sticks, sev­eral hun­dred Univer­sity of Con­necti­cut stu­dents gathered just be­fore mid­night in a ceme­tery, ready to do bat­tle with men­ac­ing clowns they had heard might be lurk­ing among the head­stones.

Po­lice de­ter­mined that Mon­day’s clown ru­mors were a hoax. But dozens of sim­i­lar re­ports have sur­faced across the coun­try, largely on so­cial me­dia. And au­thor­i­ties are be­ing forced to take them se­ri­ously as a po­ten­tial threat to public safety, par­tic­u­larly at schools, where prin­ci­pals have con­ducted lock­downs and can­celed classes.

Clown in­ci­dents have been re­ported this week at schools around the U.S.

Of­fi­cials at Mer­ri­mack Col­lege in North An­dover, Mas­sachusetts, or­dered stu­dents to shel­ter in place for more than 30 min­utes Mon­day night and evac­u­ated a dorm af­ter so­cial me­dia re­ports that an armed clown could be on cam­pus.

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