State police offer tips on what to do if you spot a creepy clown

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Pennywise the Clown, as portrayed by Tim Curry in the 1990 miniseries "It."

HARRISBURG — Hey, do you remember last year, when it seemed like for a month or so, there were reports of creepy clowns being spotted across the country every week?

The Pennsylvania State Police certainly does.

And with the movie adaption of the Stephen King novel “It” about to hit theaters, state police are trying to get out in front of another spike in menacing clowns.

The villain in “It” is an evil demon that often assumes the form of a clown named Pennywise, which terrorizes generations of children. It will be released nationwide on September 8.

Last year, clown sightings were reported in 16 states, including Pennsylvania. At least a dozen people in Alabama, Georgia and Virginia were arrested for either taking part in the menacing stunt or making false reports of clown sightings, according to a news release from state police.

Clown sightings aren’t anything new, the release said. In the 1980s, another wave of clown sightings were reported in Boston, Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Arlington Heights, state police say. In most cases, those reports were bogus. The majority, according to state police, were reported by children between the ages of 5 and 7.

That said, if you do happen to see a menacing figure in grease paint and oversized shoes, state police suggest you use their toll-free Terrorism Tipline (888) 292-1919, or email them at tips@pa.gov. You could also use the state police’s “See Something, Say Something” app, which allows suspicious activity to be captured as a photo or written note and sent directly to the Pennsylvania Criminal Intelligence Center. The app is free to iPhone or Android users.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.