EDISON - A rash of “creepy clown” encounters and threats posted on social media in New Jersey is no laughing matter for people in the clown business.
Patricia Gonsky is a professional birthday clown who goes by the name “Sprinkles the Clown.” The grandmother has been a clown for 30 years and says that she has received threatening texts and phone calls for the past few weeks since the incidents started.
Gonsky says she sometimes waits to get into costume until she meets her clients.
“[My family doesn’t] want me driving, looking like a clown,” she says. “You don't know if someone will run you off the road or worse."
Gonsky also says that her bookings have been down at least 20 percent since the clown encounters started.
Police departments across the Garden State are cracking down on these clown encounters and threats posted online.
Fair Lawn police charged two people after receiving reports that a black Toyota Tundra filled with people wearing clown masks were hanging out of the vehicle yelling at passing motorists around 1 a.m. Wednesday.
Police pulled over the truck and found clown masks inside. An 18-year-old man was charged with drug possession. The 19-year-old driver was issued a summons for reckless driving. Police say three other teens inside the truck were free to go. They allegedly told police that the two wearing clown masks were only waving at motorists.
A 14-year-old girl from South Toms River is facing charges for falsely reporting that she was chased down by a clown wielding a knife. A 12-year-old Toms River girl is also facing charges in a separate incident for allegedly posting a threat on Instagram involving a “killer clowns” and the Toms River school district.
There have been many more threats and encounters involving clowns in New Jersey and across the county. The Roselle Park Police Department recently urged residents to refrain from dressing up as clowns this Halloween.