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Creepy clowns a concern this Halloween
clown pic
The Turlock Police Department urges Halloween revelers to stay away from "creepy clown" costumes and activities. - photo by Photo Contributed

With Halloween approaching both the Turlock Unified School District and the Turlock Police Department are keeping a watchful eye out for any “creepy clowns” or other suspicious incidents that seemed aimed at scaring the city’s younger residents.

The police department did respond to one incident Wednesday regarding a man wearing a mask in Christoffersen Park, near Dennis Earl Elementary, but had no confirmed “creepy clown” sightings since earlier this month.

The Wednesday incident began around 11:45 a.m. with a person reporting a suspicious person at Christoffersen Park. The caller said the man was laying under a tree with a mask on his face. It’s unknown if the mask was a clown mask or something else, said Turlock Police spokesperson Officer Steve Rodrigues.

At some point the man noticed a few children staring at him. According to the caller, he got up, took off the mask and started swinging a bat or a stick at no one in particular. He then left in a white van. Police officers searched the area and thought they had located the subject, but it turned out to be an unrelated matter, Rodrigues said.

The Turlock Unified School District posted on their Facebook page Wednesday that they were aware of the matter and continue to monitor any reported sightings.

“Our school District, School Resource Officers, and community police continue to communicate, monitor, and respond with a sense of urgency to ensure the safety of all. Please continue to report any suspicious activity to site or district administrators or to TPD by calling 911,” the District stated in their post.

On Oct. 6 the Turlock Unified School District received one unconfirmed report of a clown sighting in town and had been monitoring several social media sites with posts regarding "clowning." On the following day the District, along with the Turlock Police Department, had identified a student who made a "creepy clown" threat to a specific Turlock school. The student was suspended and is facing expulsion, said TUSD Superintendent Dana Salles-Trevethan.

"The student posed as a 'creepy clown' and posted a threat to one of our schools," Trevethan said at the time. "We take such actions very seriously, particularly at a time when uncertainty and fears have been heightened among our students, parents and staff."

The District stated any social media post that threatened a specific school or student would be considered terrorist threats and the person who posted it would face the subsequent consequences.

On the night of Oct. 7, two girls reported being knocked down in the R.A.M. Farms corn maze, located on Daubenberger Road, and others reported being scared by individuals wearing scary clown masks. The Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department responded to the farm, but those responsible were not identified. The farm does employ several security guards and is limiting the number of unsupervised kids allowed in the corn maze at one time.