Police crack down on ‘clowns’ who cause panic after dark in Israeli towns
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Police crack down on ‘clowns’ who cause panic after dark in Israeli towns

8 youths nabbed for wearing clown outfits in attempts to frighten their neighbors amid a spate of complaints

A person dressed up as a clown in the northern city of Afula. (Screen capture: Facebook)
A person dressed up as a clown in the northern city of Afula. (Screen capture: Facebook)

Clowns frightening Israelis after dark is clearly not a laughing matter.

Police took complaints seriously and detained eight minors on suspicion of dressing up as clowns and “causing panic” among locals, police and media reports said Tuesday.

The police action came amid a spate of reports in recent days of clowns lurking in public places after dark trying to scare people,  most likely inspired by the recently released horror movie “It” based on a Stephen King novel and featuring Pennywise, the dancing clown.

Clip from the movie ‘It,’ thought to have helped inspire copycat clowns in the northern Israeli town of Afula, September 2017. (YouTube screenshot)

In the Tel Aviv suburb of Holon, police detained a 14-year-old and a 16-year-old on Monday for wearing clown masks and frightening people in a public park. Police said a hammer was found in one of the minors bags that they suspected was used to scare passersby.

The two were later released after they confessed to their actions and expressed regret, police said Tuesday.

In a separate incident, police detained two 14-year-olds from Kiryat Gat for dressing up as clowns and scaring people. They told investigators they were “clowning around,” police said in a statement.

The two were detained on Monday after police received a call that two clowns were at a park in the city.

Police had said they were looking into a number of similar complaints of young people dressing up as clowns and frightening people, but noted that wearing face paint and red noses is not crime.

Channel 2 reported Monday that residents of Ashdod, Ofakim and Dimona — all in southern Israel —  noted a rise of similar cases, which often take place late at night.

“As I was walking down the street on my way home in the middle of the night, someone jumped behind me with a clown costume and yelled at me,” a Dimona resident told Channel 2. “Luckily I didn’t have a heart attack.”

“I had a pistol, luckily I didn’t shoot him by mistake,” he said. “This is really not funny.”

In response to the phenomenon, police in Dimona arrested four minors aged 10-11 in an undercover operation, according to Channel 2.

Last week, residents of the northern city of Afula were abuzz after a number of sightings of clowns lurking the streets after dark.

Posted by ‎חדשות עפולה והסביבה‎ on Sunday, 24 September 2017

 

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