WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A 13-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy have been charged with cyber harassment stemming from separate social media clown threats, police in New Jersey said.
The girl, who is a Bunker Hill Middle School student, made broad threats against students that became more specific and included names and addresses of individuals, according to Washington Township police.
Authorities said they interviewed the girl and that she confessed to making the online threats, CBS Philly reported.
Police said the boy, a student from Orchard Valley Middle School, has been charged with making similar threats.
In a statement, Washington Township Schools Superintendent Joe Bollendorf wrote:
“We were saddened to learn that two of our students were charged with making cyber threats similar to the ‘clowning’ incidents that have been reported in other areas of the country. Our district recognizes the seriousness of these threats and has no tolerance for any proposed acts of violence or personal injury. We are grateful to the community, and especially to the Washington Township Police Department, who worked collaboratively with us to quickly identify those involved and bring swift resolution. The safety of our students and staff remain our foremost priority, and we will continue to hold those that threaten our security accountable.”
Arrests have been made elsewhere as the creepy clown craze continues to spook the nation.
Philadelphia police said a 13-year-old girl made similar threats on Instagram over the weekend. The girl said it was all a prank and that she never intended to hurt anyone, police said.
Deptford police said two youths will be charged with false public alarm for making similar threats against students and school staff on two social media accounts, “be.aware.deptford and beawarekillerclowns.”
Unusual creepy clown reports started surfacing in August when children in Greenville, South Carolina told police that clowns tried luring them into woods by offering money. Since then, similar stories of strange sightings and encounters have come out of nearly a dozen states.
In Connecticut, a school district has been asked to prohibit clown costumes and any “symbols of terror” during this year’s Halloween season as authorities investigate the authenticity of a number of clown-related social media posts.
New Haven Public School officials said Monday that NHPS Director of Security Thaddeus Reddish requested that principals and building leaders ban the costumes until additional information is available.
This comes amid an investigation involving police into an Instagram account that featured four photos showing menacing-looking clowns with captions telling several area schools to “watch out” and “wait and see” whether the alleged threats are fake.
School officials said there’s no indication the incident poses any real threat to students at this time.
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