The creepy clown craze spooking the nation reached a fevered pitch last month with at least a dozen people arrested for taking part in the menacing stunt or for making false reports, according to police.
Now, various communities are stepping up patrols — with one suburban Cincinnati town having installed extra police at its football games Friday — while warning against clown-costumed copycats.
"Our citizens are frustrated with everything going on in society and this is another issue to address," Christopher Nacco, the sheriff of Pasco County, Florida, told NBC News in an email Saturday following a spate of claimed sightings.
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"We are warning teens and young adults not to get involved in this fad, of dressing up as clowns to cause fear," Nacco added, "because eventually someone is going to perceive their actions as a threat and take justice in their own hands."
On Friday, creepy clowns were the talk of the town in St. Joseph, Missouri after multiple Facebook accounts set up for clowns contacted junior high school students and threatened the district.
"They said they were going to the high schools and they were going to kidnap the kids and kill the teachers walking to their cars and stuff," explained 13-year-old Ethan Shipps.
The district had extra police officers on its campuses, but said it didn't find any of the threats credible.