17-year-old arrested for clown threat; 'creepy clowns' raise concerns for parents

SEATTLE – What was once considered a harmless prank turned into serious consequences for one Pierce County teen.  It has some parents thinking twice about their trick-or-treat plans.

“This one is evil clown,” said a Seattle first-grader.

It’s pretty clear to this first-grader this clown isn’t funny.

“All of the kids are talking about it now.  My children came home from school today asking about if I’ve heard about the creepy clowns,” said parent Julie Tobiason.

So Tobiason had a talk with her son and daughter.

Tobiason and fellow parent Alison Burchatte both received the same email alert from Seattle Public Schools to keep an eye out for the clowns.

“Where are they showing up? Are they going to show up in our neighborhood?” asked Burchatte.

With Halloween in just a few weeks, Champion Party Supply owner Victoria Champion says if your teens are buying the costumes with bad intentions in mind…

“Maybe parents should tell their kids, hey, this is stupid. Maybe you don’t need to be on the internet for this,” said Champion.

Now, at least one pretend clown is behind bars.

“For making threats to kill three separate students and to come to the school at lunchtime and do killings,” said Pierce County sheriff's Detective Ed Troyer.

The supposed “clown” calling 911 and threatening to kill students at Rogers High in Puyallup took up plenty of police resources.

“We had 911 calls, we had death threats and we had a lot of tools that needed to be used to get to the point where we had to identify the suspect,” said Troyer.

Now the pretend clown faces real world consequences.

“Now instead of graduating or going on to his next class, he’s going to be spending time in jail,” said Troyer.

With more potential threats out there, Tobiason fears something bad could actually happen. “They take it as an opportunity perhaps to do something.  That’s maybe my darkest thought about it.”

The 17-year-old faces three counts of felony harassment and one count of false reporting to 911.