PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The creepy clown epidemic has struck New Jersey.

CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock reports there have been reports of clowns chasing children in Phillipsburg.

Tyler Carpenter said he was walking home through an alleyway when he saw a clown wearing a white mask and dressed in green and yellow.

“He had a sword,” Tyler said, adding that it looked like a katana.

Tyler said he heard the clown say “I’m gonna get cha” and he immediately ran home.

“He was so out of breath by the time he walked into the house,” said Crystal Carpenter, Tyler’s mother. “He said, ‘I was scared.’”

Carpenter said she’s never seen her son so scared.

Neighbor Alex Rodriguez said he went out looking for the person behind the clown mask.

“If he wants to chase people, we can chase, too,” Rodriguez said. “I just really drove around in a big circle.’

There have also been other reported encounters with someone flaunting a big red nose and oversized shoes in Phillipsburg. On Sunday night in Walters Park, three clowns reportedly came out of the woods and chased a child.

And on Tuesday night, someone caught a clown on camera just hanging out on a hearse at a Wawa.

“I don’t really know what this is about? Why clowns? Clowns are supposed to be happy,” said resident Pleasant Maynard.

CBS2’s Murdock made several attempts to reach out to the Phillipsburg Police Department to find out if anything is being done to track down the clown, or clowns, creeping around town, but hasn’t heard back.

Reports started in August out of South Carolina of clowns running in the woods and attempting to lure kids in with candy. Since then, similar stories of strange sightings and encounters have come out of nearly a dozen states including Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky.

“Now look at it, became an epidemic,” said Carpenter.

The creepy clowns have caused some Shriners to back out of plans to participate in a Maryland parade where they’d normally dress up as clowns.

One member said they don’t want to scare anyone, just bring smiles to children and raise money for Shriners hospitals.