Creepy clowns put SCV on edge

A clown mask that is no longer available at Target.

This is an updated version of the story as of October 17, 2016 at 6:28 p.m.

What’s really scary about Halloween in the Santa Clarita Valley this year is just how creepy clown hysteria is ramping up.

A couple of clown incidents eliciting response by local deputies – two men detained in a “clown” incident Sunday, and all clown masks and clown costumes pulled Monday from the shelves of the Target stores have heightened local sensitivity about clowns.

One sheriff’s spokeswoman calling for calm is Lt. Brenda Cambra of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station who advises:

“We believe that Halloween should be a fun and safe event for children and adults, as such, we would always recommend avoiding any costume or actions which might incite anger or strong fear in others,” she told The Signal Monday.

While Cambra said the “clown incidents here in Santa Clarita have been minor,” people should assess their safety and use common sense when determining their responses, she said. If someone sees a clown and feels unsafe, put distance between yourself and the clown, she advises.

“If the clown is aggressive or carrying an obvious weapon, contact the sheriff’s department,” Cambra said. “Dressing up as a clown in order to ‘prank’ others is not recommended and could be dangerous.”

Retailer’s response

It was reported widely in the media Monday that Target suspended the sale of clown masks at its stores and online Monday in response to the spate of creepy clown-related sightings across the country.

“Given the current environment, we have made the decision to remove a variety of clown masks from our assortment, both in stores and online,” Target spokesman Joshua Thomas told The Signal Monday.

A check with the local Target store in Valencia revealed that store officials got the company’s corporate memo about clown masks and costumes.

Out of stock

Anyone in SCV looking for creepy clown masks – or even ones of happy big footed clowns or ever popular red-nosed clowns – would have found none in the Target store on at its site online.

“It’s out of stock,” one of the store’s clerks told The Signal when asked if the store sold clown masks.

“In fact, all clown-related costumes are out of stock,” he said.

A check with the store online Monday revealed the same thing – a sudden drought on clown masks and costumes.

In fact, an online search for clown masks at the Target website resulted in: “No results found.”  And, clicking on Target’s photograph of clown mask, turned up: “Product not available.”

In the last week, Santa Clarita Valley has proven its not immune from the nationwide hysteria involving creepy clowns.

‘Clown’ detained

A menacing knife-armed “clown” and the frightened man who allegedly fired a warning shot and phoned the cops about the “clown” were both taken into custody for questioning.

Early Sunday morning, a man called the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station and reported that he was approached by a male wearing a clown mask, holding a knife in the 25500 block of Via Desca in Newhall, according to a news release issued by the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

Fearing for his safety, the 26-year-old informant said he fired a warning shot with his handgun and warned the suspect not to come any closer, according to the release.

After he fired the shot, he said that the man ran away.

Further investigation revealed that the caller, who reported the clown incident, was possibly under the influence of illegal substances and may have misconstrued the story.

He stated to responding deputies that he fired one round into the air to scare away the “clown,” the release said. A search of the man’s house revealed multiple weapons, along with illegal narcotics.

A short time later, within the same vicinity, deputies detained a 44-year-old man. Within his possession, he had a clown mask, 6- inch kitchen knife, and burglary tools.

Both of the men were taken into custody at Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

It is unknown at this time if the two incidents are related. The investigation is ongoing and there is no additional information.

This is not the first potential clown sighting in SCV according to Lt. Rob Hahnlein of the SCV Sheriff’s Station.

“This is the second or third incident,” he said.

Hahnlein says that if a person sees a clown, they should not confront them.

“I recommend someone…back away and call us,” he said.


Several incidents involving creepy clowns have been reported across the country in the days leading up to Halloween.

Police in Escalon, Calif. say a 16-year-old Northern California boy has been arrested in connection with a school threat linked to the national creepy clown trend, the Associated Press reported.

The teen used a clown-themed Twitter handle, allegedly, to post on Instagram last week that he would go to Escalon High School on Thursday and “kill all you kids.”

Police in Auburn, Massachusetts say they plan to charge a father who wore a scary clown mask and followed his child’s school bus, according to AP.

Auburn police say some middle-school-age children were so scared that they hid under a backyard deck.

Nikolas Samuels of The Signal contributed to this report.


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