Killer klown kulprits kollared in Ocean County
Two young Ocean County girls, who allegedly capitalized on crazed-clown mania by spreading fear on social media in separate incidents, face false public alarm charges.
Toms River girl faces school discipline, third-degree charge
In Toms River, a 12-year-old is accused of originating the Instagram posting by "Killerclownfromnj" that caught investigators' attention Tuesday night.
According to Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato's office and Toms River police, it read, "Some people wanted Toms River Intermediate East Middle School; I will be there at 8:37 sharp on Thursday, October 6th 2016!!"
While Toms River and Ocean County High Tech Crime investigators spent the overnight hours evaluating the possibility of a credible threat, Schools Superintendent David Healy coordinated extra security at all township schools, authorities said, adding that no actual threat ever emerged.
In addition to school disciplinary action, the girl is charged with causing false public alarm, a third-degree criminal charge.
Tells mom, goes viral
A 14-year-old girl from South Toms River faces the same count, for allegedly fabricating a stalking story for her mother that lit up fears among Facebook friends.
According to investigators, she told Mom that she was chased by a knife-wielding thug in a clown costume this morning, while walking to her bus stop.
Concerned residents began posting comments to Facebook, which reached the attention of the High Tech Crime Unit and South Toms River PD. Local patrols increased while investigators traced the ruckus to the teen, who recanted her story.
The matters are being conducted in Juvenile Court. The Prosecutor's Office issues a reminder that charges are accusations, and that defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law.
Along with that is a reminder that under New Jersey law, parents are responsible for restitution of the cost of enhanced police response to a false public alarm.