The social media fueled “creepy clown” phenomenon has spread to Metro Vancouver.
Langley’s HD Stafford Middle school sent a warning letter to parents today, after a pair of incidents involving someone in a clown mask jumping out of the bushes and chasing students.
Cpl. Holly Largy with the Langley RCMP says the first incident happened yesterday morning, but wasn’t reported until the afternoon because the students didn’t take it all that seriously. But after a second incident this morning, school administrators acted “out of an abundance of caution.”
The letter tells parents there’s no danger to students, but encourages vigilance and encourages students to walk in pairs and avoid wearing headphones or texting while walking.
Largy agrees, saying there’s been no sign of threatening behaviour by anyone.
But she says while the clown-mask wearing pranksters may think they’re being funny, there is the real possibility something could go wrong.
“You know everything has the opportunity to go the wrong way. And it might not be what you intend, but even though you just think you’re doing something silly and fun, it has the opportunity to turn criminal really quickly.”
“Any prank has the ability or capability to turn into something more sinister. Or, you know, it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye kind of thing.”
For the time being, Largy says police are keeping an eye on the situation, but there’s little they can do to stop the clowns.
“Other than take note of it for the future, unfortunately we don’t have any way to identify the clowns – quote-unquote. It’s just a foolish prank that seems to be taking place all over North America.”
Indeed, the incidents which have been growing in frequency across North America seem to have taken root in B.C.
Vancouver police say there have been no “creepy clown” reports, but Surrey RCMP say they’ve had one incident.
And Earlier today, a number of Prince George schools were put on partial lockdown after a social media post featuring clowns with guns that suggested the facilities may be targeted.
Police later said it was a “non-credible threat,” however two teens were arrested.
With Halloween on the horizon, “creepy clown” incidents have also been reported in Montreal and Toronto.
Across the U.S., dozens of other dozens incidents have been reported according to the Associated Press, prompting some complaints from police that the pranksters are wasting resources.