Creepy clown craze makes its way to southern Arizona
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Creepy clowns hiding in the woods or scaring children have been reported around the country.
Creepy clowns have been spotted in so many areas, there's now a Twitter account dedicated to clown sightings.
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As Halloween inches closer, the disturbing trend is reaching Southern Arizona.
From Nogales to Sahuarita, to right here in Tucson, social media has been blowing up with many people claiming to have seen a creepy clown or know someone who has.
The University of Arizona Police Department says they've wasted resources pursuing these claims.
The department received between 20 and 30 calls from concerned students and parents after seeing fake pictures posted on social media on Monday.
Tucson News Now spoke with several law enforcement agencies in the area, but not one was able to confirm any official reports of these creepy clowns, despite pictures and videos making the rounds on social media.
Some school districts in Arizona have gone as far as to ban clown costumes for Halloween.
But here in Tucson, local districts say they do not have any bans in place yet.
Some states have laws against wearing a mask in public, but in Arizona, no such law exists.
Still, authorities ask that residents be vigilant.
Deputy Cody Gress with the Pima County Sheriff's Department said deputies will respond to any 911 call, clown-related or not, but it's more about what the person is doing.
"That's going to be more what dictates it, whether they're in a clown costume or not," Gress said. "If you see something suspicious or doing something they're not supposed to whether they're in a clown costume or regular clothes, we always urge you to call 911."
One local clown reached out to Tucson News Now after being approached by clown types on Facebook.
Michael Schultz is an artist that goes the name "Citizen Clown"
He said he chose the name to be his persona years ago.
He also said he's received more than 40 messages on Facebook from clowns around the country asking them to join their movement - some even asking if he was willing to lure kids into the woods.
He reported some of them to Facebook and their profiles have since been removed.
But Schultz wants other parents to be on the lookout, because some clowns don't have the best intentions.
"People are afraid of a lot of things but you don't go exploiting fear like that. Especially you don't target young children," he said. "As a father myself.. who would do this?"
Schultz said he plans to report some of these clowns who approach him to police.
The clown craze isn't going away any time soon.
There is a flier circulating social media about an upcoming peace walk called "Clown Lives Matter" in Tucson.
The event says it's to show the public that not all clowns are bad.
It's happening Saturday Oct. 15 on Fourth Avenue, and will start in the Maloney's parking lot at 6:30 p.m.
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