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September 02, 2016 02:30 PM

The chief of Greenville, South Carolina’s police force warned those who are dressing up as clowns and scaring local residents that they will face arrest for causing alarm throughout the area.

“The clowning around needs to stop,” Greenville Police Chief Ken Miller said during a press briefing Thursday. “It’s illegal, it’s dangerous, it’s inappropriate, it’s creating community concern.”

Miller asked that those behind the sightings cease such activity, or face arrest.

There have been six reports within the last week of creepy clown sightings throughout Greenville. Some of those who reported seeing the clowns claim they attempted to lure children into a nearby woods.

Miller said he doesn’t know what is motivating the clown costumers, or if it is just someone trying to “politely terrorize the public,” but he cautioned that “We will arrest you. We don’t want to, but we will.”

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The purported sightings have sparked intense social media speculation as to what’s behind them. According to Miller, the reported clown sightings have included various descriptions, with differences in both race and costume.

So far, none of the officers who have responded to these reports has seen a clown. They also have not found any evidence supporting the alleged sightings.

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Miller told reporters that it is unclear if it is a couple of people dressing as clown in repeat incidents, or several people. He also has no idea if the incidents are somehow connected to the promotion of an upcoming film that involves clowns.

State law and city ordinances prohibit anyone older than 16 from wearing masks that conceal their identity when on streets, walkways or private property, unless it is a holiday or theatrical production costume.

Miller said he’s beefed up patrols in areas where clown sightings have been reported.

“We are taking these reports very seriously, especially because of the allegations that they were trying to lure kids to the woods,” Miller said.

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