During the past few weeks, clowns have received a great deal of community and media attention.
The first, a widely-reported incident, occurred in Greenville County, at the Fleetwood Manor Apartment Complex on the 20th. Please note that this incident, and a second outside of Greenville city limits, are being investigated by the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, and we are coordinating investigations between the two agencies.
The Greenville Police Department has answered four calls related to clowns within the City of Greenville. Two have occurred at 100 Shemwood Lane (Shemwood Crossing Apartments); one on Deoyley Avenue; and one at 245 Congaree Road, at Park Haywood Apartments.
1. On Monday, August 29, at 21:32 hours, a juvenile male reported that two clowns were standing outside near Shemwood Crossing apartments. GPD officers responded, searched the area, and reviewed the apartment complex CCTV (cameras). They did not locate the subjects or view them on camera footage.
2. On Tuesday August 30th at 20:41 hours, an adult female caller from Shemwood Crossing apartments reported two subjects dressed in clown costumes in the vicinity of a playground at the apartment complex. Officers searched the area but were informed that the two subjects had been chased to a newer model, black vehicle and drove away.
3. The third incident occurred on Deoyley Avenue on August 31st at 15:40. A male juvenile spotted a person dressed in black, wearing a clown mask, walking toward the back yard of a residence. A female juvenile reported that she observed the individual but was unable to provide a description. Officers canvassed the Pleasant Valley area but did not locate the subject.
4. The fourth incident occurred on August 31 at about 17:20 at the Park Haywood Apartments, 245 Congaree Road. A 45 year old female reported that a middle-aged white male, wearing clown-like facial makeup and red hair, was standing outside the laundromat, and stared at her as she exited. The subject did not speak to or follow her.
In each of the four Greenville City incidents, there has been no indication of any attempt to contact or lure children into the woods. In general, however, members of the community should remain vigilant. Don't allow children to play alone or in isolated areas; parents and guardians should be aware of their children's activities.
Greenville City ordinance prohibits harassment of individuals (see Sec. 24-32 for “Molesting, disturbing, or following persons”) and State law applies to publicly concealing identity (see Section 16-7-110 for “Wearing masks and the like”). Additional laws may apply, depending upon the specific circumstances of each case.
Greenville area law enforcement agencies take these reports seriously. We have increased patrol in areas where sightings have occurred and will be stepping up crime prevention in these apartment complexes and neighborhoods. We encourage the community to document and report suspicious activity to police. If there are sightings: take a photo, note person and vehicle descriptions, pay attention to direction of travel, and immediately call 911.