Parents in South Carolina are being warned that an individual dressed as a clown has been seen several times in recent days, attempting to lure children into woods near residential apartments.
A warning letter has been sent to residents of the Fleetwood Manor apartments in the state's Greenville County, emphasising that children should not be allowed out alone at night.
Parents and guardians have been told that police are carrying out regular patrols. There is no suggestion that any children have so far been abducted.
The police were initially summoned by parent Donna Arnold, who stated that her son had seen clowns behind the basketball court. "I thought my child was seeing things," said Arnold. "And then the next day I had about 30 kids come up to me and say, 'Did you see the clown in the woods?"
The warning letter concerning the clown sightings is alarming. It has a Fleetwood Manor Apartments letterhead and is signed by the building's property management company, according to reporting by Fox8. The letter's text reads:
"There has [sic] been several conversation [sic] and a lot of complaints to the office regarding a clown or a person dressed in clown clothing taking children or trying to lure children in the woods. First and foremost at Fleetwood Manor Apartments childrens [sic] safety is a top priority. At no time should a child be alone at night, or walking in the roads or wooded areas at night.
"Also if a person or persons are seen you are to immediately call the police. Greenville County Police Department is aware of the situation and have been riding [sic] the property daily. Remember there is a 10pm curfew for the property so to ensure your childrens [sic] safety please keep them in the house during night hours and make sure at ALL times children are supervised. Anymore [sic] information that becomes regarding this issue will be sent out to all residents."
Local community activist Bruce Wilson said he is intervening at the apartments to help ensure that children are safe, even if the the clown sightings turn out to be a false alarm. "We have about two to three hundred children out here," said Wilson. "I want to make sure that law enforcement is doing the right thing."