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UAPD investigating possible clown hoax on campus

Posted at 6:50 PM, Oct 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-05 01:26:54-04

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV)-- The University of Arizona Police Department is investigating a possible clown hoax that happened Monday night. 

UAPD received between 20 and 30 phone calls from parents and students regarding the clown hoax. 

Police say the hoax may have originated from someone who put out a fake alert warning about a clown or clowns on campus. 

This comes after scary clowns have been terrorizing people across the nation. 
 
It's not just the U of A, there have been reports of other campuses across the country. Blurry photos of clowns being shared on social media to scare people.
 
But tonight, the UAPD is reassuring everyone not to worry, no clowns on campus. 
 
Cities across the nation have seen clowns chasing people with knives, luring children and women. 
 
In Phoenix, a dominos was robbed when two men in clown masks walked in.
 
Also, The Mesa Public School System was threatened with "let's play" clown threats. 
 
"It's sad the way people are these days. They'll get caught but it's a matter of when will it stop." adds concerned parent Patrick Offholter.
 
Campus police say they will hold hoaxers accountable. 
 
Janet Henderson with Tucsonclowns.com says this is giving her business a bad name.
 
People terrorizing others for a thrill isn't why she came into this business. "The whole point of clowns is to cheer people up," stresses Henderson. 
 
Adding that parents call her concerned, making sure her costumes aren't too scary for their children. 
 
"The thing that I have noticed and affected my business is I've had several people specifically ask for female clowns because they're less scary," Henderson says
 
If you're thinking of being a clown for Halloween, Police say to be careful because it may create danger for you. 

Nine on Your Side obtained an email sent to Arizona students that said the following about the clown hoax Monday night:

Dear Wildcat Scholars,

October has arrived, and the season of Halloween and tricks and treats are upon us.  For our community members who celebrate Halloween, we encourage fun and safe events.

We want to set the UA campus and community at ease regarding the clown hoax that occurred last night. UAPD is investigating potential leads into who created the hoax. Similar reports are occurring at campuses across the nation in which blurry pictures are posted on social media and go viral, bogus Clery Alerts are circulated and, when interviewed, no one has actually seen any clowns.

UA received 20-30 calls from concerned students and parents regarding this hoax, tying up police officers and dispatch, and compromising campus safety by distracting police respondents and dispatcher, hoaxers and others re-posting the warnings have been arrested in other states for false reporting and fueling public alarm. Police had to approach crowds of students in the dark to ascertain if anyone was in danger, which can be a tense situation for the public and responding officers. This hoax also creates a danger for people who dress as clowns for Halloween parties and other events.

Hoaxers and others re-posting clown warnings have been arrested in other states for false reporting and fueling public alarm. This hoax also creates a danger for people who dress as clowns for Halloween parties and other events.

We care about your safety and ask that you note the following tips:

§  UAlerts are communicated from the University. If you are unsure of the validity of an alert, please call 621-UAPD to verify.

§  Be careful with costume selection, particularly those that include a “weapon.”

§  If you actually see something that seems out of place, call 621-UAPD.

Sincerely,

Brian Seastone

Chief, University of Arizona Police Department

 

Kendal Washington White

Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students

Anyone who has information about the hoax is advised to call 520-621-UAPD.