by Loren Coleman, author of The Copycat Effect (New York: Paraview Pocket-Simon and Schuster, 2004).
(1) January 31, 2015. Merseyside, UK
Crooks dressed as clowns carried out a string of crimes in Merseyside and police have dealt with 14 incidents - from armed robbery to bogus charity collections - involving people wearing face paint and circus costumes, they reported at the end of the first month of the year.
One of the crimes was caught on camera, when a robber strolled into a currency exchange shop in Walton wearing a yellow wig, white face paint and a pink prosthetic nose and forced a terrified worker to hand over bundles of notes.
Another victim had an egg thrown at his car by a yob wearing a clown mask, reports the Liverpool Echo.
(2) July 2015
Early in July 2015, a Chicagoan took a cellphone video of a person dressed in a clown suit, trespassing at the city's historic Rosehill Cemetery in the dead of night. Julia Graham says she was “freaked out” at the figure as it ran toward the main gate. She and her husband were driving by around 10 p.m.
“When we get closer, we realize it’s a clown, which is super weird,” Graham said.
The first picture her husband snapped was of the clown scaling the 7-foot-tall gate at the Ravenswood Avenue entrance. That feat is no easy task, especially for someone wearing a clown suit. The North Side cemetery was clearly closed and locked for the night. Officials don’t know what to make of it because other than the trespass there were no complaints of vandalism.
(3) July 2015
Laughing Jack is a clown who befriends children as their imaginary friend before slicing them open and replacing their organs with candy, according to Urban Dictionary. The unidentified Elkhart girl “heard voices and had an 'alter ego' months before the stabbing and begged her father for help,” the court documents said.
(4) August 7, 2015. Hickory, North Carolina.
(5) September 2015. Las Vegas, Nevada.
Some people thought it was funny, but it is amazing no one shot the "killer" clowns that were scaring folks around the Las Vegas Valley in September of this year.
Matteo Moroni, the famous prankster behind DM Pranks in Italy, teamed up with Fright Dome-owner Jason Egan to bring the "killer clowns" to Nevada. They set up "crime scenes" with creepy clowns nearby and waited for real people to walk into the situations.
In the video, the clowns hang out in a gas station, the long hallways of Circus Circus and in an ambulance behind the hotel-casino. Each time an unsuspecting person or group walks into the created scenario and are scared almost into having heart attacks. Not funny.
(6) October 2015. Kent, UK
Phantom Clowns stalked St. John's Road in Kent. The incidents started after several reports in Tonbridge. On October 5 in Hectorage Road, pupils reported they were scared by people in clown masks.On October 7 and 8 there were also reports of a woman in the High Street wearing a clown mask. The following week in Tunbridge Wells, on October 13 and 14 there are reports of people wearing clown masks in a van on St John's Road. Some witnesses said the clowns wore black clothing and white masks.
No one was ever caught. (These are the classic Phantom Clowns that I discussed in Mysterious America.)
(7) October 15, 2015. Springfield, Missouri.
Police say they arrested a 30-year-old man on October 15, after he dressed as clown, carried a toy gun onto Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri, and claimed he had a bomb and was going to take a hostage. James D. Robertson (pictured) was charged with making terroristic threats. Police found Robertson in a parking lot at the college. He told them he was formerly a student at the college and wanted to return but school officials ignored him. Robertson told police he dressed like a clown and carried a toy gun in order to make school officials pay attention to him. They did. Robertson did not have a car bomb. In the trunk of his car, police found a bag of charcoal with a note that said: "This is my CAR bomb!"
Police say they aren't aware of any crimes the teen has committed.
(9) December 24, 2015. Lakewood, Colorado.
In a related vein, Suicide Squad is an upcoming American superhero film based on the DC Comics antihero team of the same name. It is scheduled to be released on August 5, 2016. One of the most significant characters in the forthcoming movie is the Joker, being played by Jared Leto. During 2015, photos of Leto as the new Joker caused quite a stir.