Police: Couple arrested for child neglect after clown prank

MENASHA, WI (WBAY) – Two adults and a teenager are expected to be charged after scary clown incidents in the Fox Valley, Wisconsin.

Police say a Menasha couple is facing child neglect charges after they left their young child home alone while they took part in a clown prank.

Just before 4 o’clock Friday morning, Menasha Police were called to the area of Appleton and Midway roads for a report of people wearing clown masks chasing after vehicles.

Police found two men, 20 and 29 years old, dressed in clown costumes and a 26-year-old woman who’d been driving the men around.

During the investigation, police learned the older man and the woman had a 4-year-old child, “and they had left this 4-year-old girl home alone while they decided to go out and do their clowning activities,” Police Chief Tim Styka said.

Police say the child was unattended for a few hours while the parents were cruising around.

The couple was arrested and police are seeking charges of Child Neglect against the couple.

“The child was actually placed outside of the home by Winnebago County Social Services,” Styka said.

The 20-year-old man was not charged.

Fox Valley Metro Police say a 14-year-old boy wearing a clown mask caused a disturbance at Kimberly’s Sunset Park late Sunday afternoon.

Authorities say the teen was blocking a one-lane road in the park that a father and son were driving on.

“Teenager gets out of the vehicle and says, ‘Can you move so we can drive through?’ At this point the clown presented what turned out to be a real knife and just held it in his hand — didn’t run after the car, didn’t display it like this, just held it,” Ed Slinde of Fox Valley Metro Police described.

Officers are asking the boy be charged with disorderly conduct with a deadly weapon.

It was the second time police were called to Sunset Park on Sunday. Earlier, people called police to report a clown carrying what appears to be a sledgehammer through the park.

He told police he was with friends playing a game of hide-and-seek and the sledgehammer was a plastic prop.

While no one has been injured in any of these incidents, police are concerned these situations could escalate.

“We’re very concerned with the public and for these people, that somebody is going to get hurt, and it needs to stop,” Slinde said.

“There’s been different posts and different things out there now where people are saying, ‘If a clown comes up to me now I’m going to,’ fill in the blank. And there’s been comments made by (concealed-carry) people saying, ‘I’m going to draw down on them,’” Styka said.

So before anyone gets hurt, police want people to realize these clown games aren’t funny and to put them to rest.

“This is kind of one of those internet sensations that’s really taking on a life of its own and people are just really starting to make some really poor and dumb decisions to participate in some of these activities,” Styka said.

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