DETROIT (WWJ) – It’s not illegal to dress as a clown.
That’s the word from Detroit police and Michigan State Police amid continued clown sighting in a trend that has some terrified.
Detroit police Chief James Craig said — while his department won’t be rounding up all those with an orange wig and painted face — he’s keeping a close eye on the creepy clown craze sweeping the country.
“We’re just not going to arrest people in clown suits; we’re just not going to do that,” Craig stressed to WWJ’s Vickie Thomas and other reporters Thursday. “We haven’t done that. If there’s a nexus to criminal activity, then we will take appropriate action.”
While Craig said there haven’t been any reports yet about creepy clowns committing crimes within the city, several incidents are under investigation in the suburbs.
The chief said his department will look at any clown sighting reports that come in on a case-by-case basis.
“Those who want and choose to wear these clown suits, just know, when people call us, we’re going to investigate. And if the investigation leads to a criminal misconduct of some sort, then we’re gonna take appropriate action,” Craig said.
Meantime, Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Shaw says there is some concern that people may carry out unprovoked attacks on people in clown masks or costumes – especially with Halloween approaching.
“What I think we’ve seen now with social media that things can get out of hand pretty quickly,” Shaw said, speaking live on WWJ Newsradio 950.
“What we’re afraid of is that someone is going to go out there with a joke in their mind or try to scare somebody, and somebody’s going to end up either getting beat up, or worse, shot.”
Shaw said that, while hot at the moment, he’s hoping this clown business will “calm down” soon enough.
“But now we’re starting to see people that are actually taking advantage of it and committing crimes and robberies. So we want people to be cautious, be vigilant, but don’t let the hype get to you so much that you’re afraid to leave the house,” Shaw said.
Shaw said that anyone who does engage in illegal activity while dressed as a clown may face an additional charge of wearing a mask in the commission of a crime.