Police on Thursday detained for questioning a 13-year-old boy who was allegedly wearing a mask and scaring passersby in Jerusalem.
Police said the move was part of a countrywide crackdown in recent weeks on young Israelis, mainly teenagers, dressing up in scary masks — usually clown masks — and walking around public areas in an attempt to spook residents.
Cops received calls about the teenager who was allegedly wandering the streets in the Talpiot neighborhood of southern Jerusalem, wearing what police described as a “clown mask.” A photograph of the mask provided by police showed it was a scream mask.
A police patrol discovered the mask, which had been discarded. After a search, police located the boy, who had fled to his home.
The teenager was summoned for questioning along with his parents and a report was sent to the welfare authorities.
Israeli police have detained dozens of teenagers and children, some as young as 10, in the wave of pranks, most likely inspired by the recently released horror movie “It” based on a Stephen King novel and featuring Pennywise, the dancing clown. The trend has spurred a counter-fashion of teenagers roaming their neighborhoods looking for the impostor clowns. Many of the clowns and clown-hunters have been armed.
Police said Saturday that officers would continue to crack down on the “illegal” phenomenon and would not let the public be “harmed, scared or have their daily lives disrupted.”
In a statement the police again urged teenagers not to take part in the pranks, adding that they would strictly enforce penalties against such activities.