Indianapolis police say they have taken four complaints about 'creepy' clowns, all of them unfounded

Posted at 7:25 PM, Sep 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-29 14:24:33-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- A creepy trend is popping up across the country and it's raising concerns here in Indiana after police departments across the state say they've had reports of sightings. 

"Creepy" looking clowns have been reported in dozens of states with accused of committing crimes, which has gotten the FBI involved.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department says their officers have taken at least four complaints about clowns in the city, although none of them have been criminal.

Metro police say that so far their complaints have been unfounded, but it's clear by the attention these stories are garnering, that not everyone is laughing. 

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Kristin Chastain said she called police after spotting three kids in clown masks driving around her neighborhood this week. 

She said that while her sighting may have been innocent, with headlines from across the country freaking people out, she felt she needed to stay cautious. 

"Some of them are more violent and some are just harmless pranks, but nowadays with everything that goes on you just never know," said Chastain, "You never know who's going to be the harmless prank and who's going to be the one with the knife and do something violent and hurt you."

Police in Brazil, Indiana say they have only had one report of a person dressed as a clown knocking on someone's door, but because of that report people have been spreading false information. 

A similar situation in Muncie was reported. Police say they have had numerous calls into their dispatch about possible clown sightings, but they have yet to find anyone actually dressed up as a clown wandering the streets. 

Just last week, a police department in eastern Kentucky arrested a man dressed as a clown who was reportedly causing hysteria amongst drivers by hiding in the ditch line and trying to scare people. 

Police say the man reportedly violated a city ordinance by covering his face, which is what they were able to charge him with. 

This isn't the first time Indiana residents have had to deal with 'creepy' clown sightings. Back in 2014, a clown in Fishers caused a stir when residents started reporting him to local police. That clown was later identified and police say he was not intending to scare people, just celebrate Halloween. 

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Sightings have also been reported in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania. And that list will likely grow as we get closer to Halloween. 

Associate Professor of Psychology Dr. Kendra Thomas with the University of Indianapolis says it's no surprise that so many - from kids to adults - are creeped out by the clowns.

"There's so many stories and movies, horror films and ways that feed that creepy stereotype of clowns," said Thomas. 

Thomas says that while most of these sightings are likely harmless, one 'bad' clown can ruin it for all of the others. 

"Somebody does something that is criminal, then all of a sudden all of these cases look criminal," said Thomas. 

Metro police say the calls they've received could be the result of all of the national attention currently being put on anyone in a clown costume. 

Police say if you come across someone you are leery of in a clown costume you should look for or record any suspicious behavior. They ask that people also remember that Halloween is right around the corner, and clowns come with it.