Creepy clown sightings reported in Okeechobee County

OKEECHOBEE — A craze that’s sweeping the nation has made its way into Okeechobee and it isn’t funny.

On at least two occasions Wednesday, Oct. 5, local residents spotted someone dressed like a clown. However, by the time Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) deputies arrived on the scene the clown was gone.

One clown was sighted in the S.E. 96th Circle area, while the second was seen riding a scooter on N.E. 144th Drive.

According to Michele Bell, OCSO public information officer, Wednesday’s sightings were the first for this area.

“We haven’t had any problems — just these reported sightings,” she said Thursday morning. “There was nothing confirming they did anything.”

Detective Bill Saum, public information officer for the Okeechobee City Police Department (OCPD), also said Thursday that his agency received a call Wednesday, Oct. 5, about a clown sighting.

“But, it was actually in the county so I told him to call the sheriff’s office,” said Detective Saum.

While there was no contact between the clowns and the people who saw them, that hasn’t always been the case. In some states the clowns have attempted to lure small children into wooded areas. There have been other situations where clowns hid in bushes then jumped out and scared people as they passed by.

Several clown sightings have been documented as close to Okeechobee as Indian River County.

The Vero Beach Police Department was contacted Sept. 29 by an upset father who said someone wearing a clown mask chased his child and other classmates when they got off their school bus.

There was also an incident in Mississippi where police chased someone dressed as a clown who was armed with a machete. The person successfully evaded the officers and has not been seen since.

Probably one of the worst cases occurred in Reading, Pa., where a high school student was fatally stabbed by someone wearing a clown mask.

Numerous reports have been made to law enforcement all across the United States — from Oregon to Florida. Some have been reports of violence, but the majority of reports have only dealt with sightings.

“If you see someone dressed as a clown, call law enforcement and make a report. But, don’t approach them,” said Mrs. Bell.

“Try to get as good a description of the person as possible, as well as their vehicle. Try to get a tag number if they are in a car or on a scooter.”

To contact the sheriff’s office, call 863-763-3117.

To report a sighting to the police department, call 863-763-2626 during normal business hours. After 5 p.m., call 863-763-5521.

Eric Kopp is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News

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