The potential for harm surrounding reported clown sightings appears to be escalating, as an alleged knife-wielding circus performer chased a New York teen through a subway station after blocking his path.
The 16-year-old boy told police a man dressed in clown makeup, clothes and oversized shoes was refusing to let people off an uptown 6 train at East 96th Street-Lexington Avenue on Wednesday, according to reports.
The teen pushed past the clown as he blocked commuters’ paths and headed to the station’s mezzanine. When he turned around, the boy saw the clown following him and pulling a knife from his right pocket, the New York Daily News reported.
The teen ran from the station and alerted police to the terrifying ordeal.
The clown, who said nothing during the incident, did not follow the victim from the station, the News wrote.
It’s unclear if Wednesday’s incident is connected to another report of a menacing clown who appeared outside a man's home in Queens.
The 30-year-old man told police he looked out the window of his Elmhurst home and saw a knife-wielding clown staring at him and making threatening gestures, the New York Post reported.
That clown, seen in white face paint, a red wig and oversized shoes, ran away on foot.
Such reports have many looking to take matters into their own hands.
In a trend that has left school officials across the country troubled, bands of students across the country are taking to the streets in an effort to track down creepy clowns.
Groups of students with bats ran around the James Madison university campus in Virginia after reports of a creepy clown spread like wildfire.
Safety expert Bill Stanton said such vigilantism is dangerous for many reasons, including “the fact that someone with nefarious intentions could hide behind the mask and do harm.”
Though many are concerned about potential threats, others still believe that the uptick in clown sightings is part of a marketing stunt of sorts and the craze will die down after Halloween.
Sales of creepy clown paraphernalia has taken off across the country, as masks and costumes have been flying off the shelves.