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University of Arizona Police Department investigating possible clown hoax on campus

Posted: 8:20 PM, Oct 04, 2016
Updated: 2016-10-05 01:56:25-04

The University of Arizona Police Department is investigating a possible clown hoax that happened Monday night.

UAPD received between 20 and 30 phone calls from parents and students regarding the clown hoax.

Police say the hoax may have originated from someone who put out a fake alert warning about a clown or clowns on campus.

The investigation into where the possible clown warning came from is still ongoing. 

ABC15's sister station in Tucson, KGUN9, obtained an email sent to Arizona students that said the following:

Dear Wildcat Scholars,

October has arrived, and the season of Halloween and tricks and treats are upon us.  For our community members who celebrate Halloween, we encourage fun and safe events.

We want to set the UA campus and community at ease regarding the clown hoax that occurred last night. UAPD is investigating potential leads into who created the hoax. Similar reports are occurring at campuses across the nation in which blurry pictures are posted on social media and go viral, bogus Clery Alerts are circulated and, when interviewed, no one has actually seen any clowns.

UA received 20-30 calls from concerned students and parents regarding this hoax, tying up police officers and dispatch, and compromising campus safety by distracting police respondents and dispatcher, hoaxers and others re-posting the warnings have been arrested in other states for false reporting and fueling public alarm. Police had to approach crowds of students in the dark to ascertain if anyone was in danger, which can be a tense situation for the public and responding officers. This hoax also creates a danger for people who dress as clowns for Halloween parties and other events.

Hoaxers and others re-posting clown warnings have been arrested in other states for false reporting and fueling public alarm. This hoax also creates a danger for people who dress as clowns for Halloween parties and other events.

We care about your safety and ask that you note the following tips:

§  UAlerts are communicated from the University. If you are unsure of the validity of an alert, please call 621-UAPD to verify.

§  Be careful with costume selection, particularly those that include a “weapon.”

§  If you actually see something that seems out of place, call 621-UAPD.

Sincerely,

Brian Seastone
Chief, University of Arizona Police Department
Kendal Washington White
Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students