More 'creepy clown' incidents reported in New York and New Jersey

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Monday, October 3, 2016
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Mallory Hoff has more from Wayne.

TOMS RIVER, New Jersey (WABC) -- Police in several towns in New York and New Jersey are investigating possible clown sightings that have many people on edge.

Newburgh police confirm there was an individual with a clown mask holding a BB gun on top of a railroad bridge above Walsh Road Saturday afternoon.

Police have spoken to the person, and no charges have been filed.

The male lives in the area. The bridge he was on is not used for anything at this time, police said.

Meanwhile, authorities in Wayne say a female caller reported a person wearing clown mask or clown makeup around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The woman said she spotted a suspicious man staring at her from the woods with his hands in his pockets wearing what she believed looks like a clown mask.

The incident happened on Willowbrook Boulevard near office buildings and a technical school in what is mostly an industrial area.

Police responded and found nothing.

They are not sure what the woman saw and can't say for sure if it was a person resembling a clown.

NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller addressed the issue Monday, saying the considerate resources of the NYPD's threat assessment unit have tracked the current rash of clown scares to North Carolina, where they appear to have originated earlier this year and quickly spread through the internet.

"There have been attempts to make threats over social media in New York City," he said, adding that the NYPD quickly concluded "none of them to be credible" and that the department is going to "avoid falling into the trap" of wasting resources on obvious hoaxes.

It all comes after reports of clown sightings prompted stepped-up security at all schools in one New Jersey district.

The Toms River Police Department said officers have been directed to "have a high presence" at all of the schools in the town, in order to "provide an extra layer of security." Several incidents have also been reported in Phillipsburg.

The Toms River Police Department offered some background into the clown sightings.

As some of you may be aware there is a story circulating around the nation regarding "creepy clown sightings." The initial reports seem to stem from an organized movie promotion and have now morphed into copycat reports throughout New Jersey. The recent social media posts and threats to schools seem to originate from outside of New Jersey. Facebook shares and retweets have brought these concerns to New Jersey.

Toms River police said the department is working with school leaders on additional security measures.

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