Trick or Terror: ‘Wasco clown’ sightings freak out California town

Trick or Terror: ‘Wasco clown’ sightings freak out California town
Since the beginning of October, the residents of Wasco, California have been on alert for sightings of a ghoulish clown, or clowns, in some instances brandishing a weapon, which has already landed one teen copycat in jail.

With Halloween still two weeks away, it is already a safe bet what the most popular costume in several California towns will look like: A horrifying clown with flaming red hair, blackened eyes, and bright yellow overalls; a bit like Ronald McDonald meets Stephen King in a nightmare.

Although some residents have made a game of hunting for the creepy clown in order to post his image to social media, others are not taking the new stranger to town so lightly.

In the nearby town of Bakersfield, police became concerned over the sightings after it collected 16 reports of the clown brandishing various weapons.

"We've been having sightings all over the city," Bakersfield Police Lt. Jason Matson told Reuters. "They range from anywhere from a guy carrying a gun to a guy carrying a knife running up to houses."

Bakersfield police arrested a 14-year-old boy on Thursday who they say was frightening children, Bakersfieldnow.com reported.

However, the police in Wasco do not seem overly alarmed by the ghoulish sightings of the clown, who is usually photographed in empty, dark areas holding a bunch of colorful balloons.

"I am unaware of any crimes committed by clowns," Sgt. Ian Chandler told KGET News. "I am looking into it. It's my understanding there is a Twitter account and possibly a Facebook account in this.

"We have had no reports of any assaults by a clown nor have we any arrests of any clowns at any time I have been here and I have been here two years."

Whether just good-natured fun in the spirit of Halloween, or something more sinister, local residents seem to enjoy the late-night search parties.

“Some of the residents go in cars searching for him. They have flashlights and try to spot him in neighborhoods after he posts to Twitter,” Noah Sanchez told local news station KFOR. “It’s kinda fun though to get us in the Halloween spirit and all of us in the community."