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State Police Warn 'Creepy Clown' Sightings May Return

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Pennsylvania State Police have issued a "community awareness bulletin," saying there may be a resurgence of creepy clown sightings in the fall.

In the bulletin, state police say there may be more sightings as soon as September. They say some of these incidents may be inspired by the upcoming release of the movie "It," which features "an evil demon who takes on the shape of a clown."

Last year, there was a surge of reports across the country of people dressed as clowns trying to lure children into the woods. Sightings were reported in 16 states, and state police say at least a dozen people were arrested in Georgia, Alabama and Virginia for taking part in a stunt or for making false reports.

The reports prompted some schools to ban clown costumes around Halloween, and McDonald's even cut back on community event appearances for their mascot, Ronald McDonald.

Locally, Masontown Police confirmed reports of clown sightings last September, and there were rumors of clown sightings in Westmoreland County, but officers dismissed them as unfounded reports.

A clown sighting was reported in Pennsylvania just last month when a man dressed as a clown reportedly tried to lure a 9-year-old girl in Wilkes-Barre.

According to state police, creepy clown sightings are nothing new, and they pointed out there was a rash of sightings by young children across the country, including in Pittsburgh, back in the 1980s.

State police say they are providing the warning "for informational purposes only," and they urge anyone who sees suspicious activity to contact state police at (888) 292-1919, or via their "See Something, Send Something" smartphone app.

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