GREENVILLE, S.C. - Sightings of strange clowns trying to lure children into the woods near a Greenville apartment complex are being taken seriously, but so far there are no confirmed sightings, according to Greenville County deputies.
Residents of the Fleetwood Manor Apartments in Greenville, S.C., reportedly received letters from property management last week encouraging them to abide by the apartment’s 10 p.m. curfew, and not to let their children walk alone at night.
The letter warned of numerous calls and complaints regarding clowns attempting to lure kids into the woods at the complex. Administrators at Fleetwood Manor would not confirm that they sent the letter and told The Greenville News on Monday that they would call back later.
A few days after the letter surfaced on Facebook, Greenville County deputies followed with an incident report describing two complaints from parents who said their kids spotted clowns acting strangely and trying to lure them into the woods with money. According to that release, deputies searched the area following those reports and found no sign of the clowns.
Deputies are actively investigating the sightings. "Obviously, this is the type of claim that we need to take serious whether it's valid or not," said Master Deputy Ryan Flood with the Greenville County Sheriff's Office.
Greenville County deputies say they will increase patrols in the areas where the clown sightings have been reported to ensure the safety of the public. Greenville Police Chief Ken Miller says right now law enforcement doesn't know how much of this scare is just hype.
"At this time, these are isolated incidents that have not been confirmed," said Flood. "I would say there's not much reason to be fearful."
By Monday the story of 'Clowns terrorizing a South Carolina Town' had reached nearly every remaining major national news source. It's the sort of thing that spreads quickly on social media, thanks to nightmares, Stephen King, catchy headlines and terrifying stock photos of scary clowns or clowns who'd reportedly terrorized other towns.
While dozens have surfaced on various news sites and social media, there are no documented photos of the clowns that were reportedly seen in Greenville County.
Monday night, deputies were called to a complex on White Horse Road, 20 minutes from Fleetwood Manor, for another reported sighting where they again found nothing.
Miller said his department has also received one phone call about a clown sighting. Miller said officers responded to the area of Shemwood Crossing on Monday but did not find any sign of a clown. He said officers reviewed surveillance video in the area where the clown was reportedly seen and found nothing.
"We have to be careful that we don’t create something that isn’t there,” said Miller. "We don't know how much of this is hype."
A quick search on social media brings up varying reactions to the clown scare. Some are fueled by fear, others include threats of vigilante justice. There are posts promising to kill clowns on sight or blow a clown's head off. While all of this may seem like a joke or possibly a prank taken a little too seriously, rest assured, some are not joking.
Alongside the reports of clown sightings, an incident report filed at Fleetwood Manor describes a report of gunshots fired in the area. According to that report, a deputy was told that men from the complex had heard about the reported clown sightings. Witnesses told deputies the men fired shots into the woods after hearing noises, according to the report.