Clown hoaxes force police to check pranks for real threats
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.