ROSELLE PARK - A New Jersey police department is urging adults and teenagers against dressing up as a clown this Halloween.
The warning comes after a 14-year-old Roselle Park student was charged for allegedly posting a threat online involving a clown and Roselle Park schools.
“Residents may be extra sensitive to ‘evil’ or ‘creepy’ clown attacks leading up to Halloween,” the police department posted on its Facebook page. “We are issuing this warning of possible exposure to criminal prosecution and civil liability for any suspicious or threatening clown behavior on social networks or in public.”
Several other teens in New Jersey are facing similar charges for posting threats online involving clowns looking to harm people.
Randolph school officials are working with law enforcement officials in Morris County after threats were posted on Instagram Tuesday referencing clowns and school attacks. School officials say security will be increased at all of the town’s schools.
“Creepy clown” encounters are also on the rise in the state since last week.
Monroe Township police are looking for a four people who apparently were dressed in clown costumes, holding weapons and menacing juveniles on Oct. 2.
Parsippany police reported a person in a clown mask walked into a Quick Check on Oct. 3 with what appeared to be a machete. Police were able to determine the clown was a teenager performing a “misguided prank and no threat to the community exists.”
Similar incidents have been taking place across the country in recent weeks. Officials believe it started as a promotion for a movie, but has since spurred copycats.