2 teens charged, as ‘creepy clown’ threats spread throughout NJ and get ‘very specific’
WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP (Gloucester County) — South Jersey police have charged two teenagers for making online threats involving clowns and expect more to be charged on Tuesday, as threats continue around the state.
A 13-year-old girl and 14-year-old boy were charged Monday with cyber harassment by Washington Township Police in Gloucester County, for making online threats against the Washington Township School District where they are both students.
Police said they investigated several "very specific" threats made online against several individuals by name, address and other personal information. The girl confessed to making the threats during an interview with detectives, according to police.
The boy was arrested as part of a separate but similar investigation, according to police, who said the girl was released to the custody of her parents.
Washington School Superintendent of Schools Joe Bollendorf said in a statement that the district was "saddened" to learn of charges against two students but has "no tolerance for any proposed acts of violence or personal injury."
Police in Deptford Township expect to charge two teens with false public alarm after threats were made on two separate social media accounts, "be.aware.deptford" and "beawarekillerclowns." Police said the threats indicated that people would come to several Deptford district schools dressed as clowns and harm students and staff.
Police said there is no connection between Deptford and either the Washington Township threats or other threats received at schools around the state in the past week.
Penn State Live reported the rumor of a clown on campus send hundreds of students into the streets with tennis rackets, baseball bats and hockey sticks on a good natured search for the clown. The image of a clown was projected onto the side of a dorm building
The "creepy clown" scare began in New Jersey with sightings near schools in Phillipsburg, but spread to other districts late last week, including West Deptford and Toms River.
Hamilton Township School District interim superintendent Dr. Thomas Ficarra said in a statement on the district website that his district has not received any credible threats, but police are increasing their presence at schools as a precaution.
Elizabeth Public Schools superintendent Olga Hugelmeyer said a threat posted by "Trevor Clown" was not credible after an investigation by Elizabeth Police and the Union County Prosecutor's Office.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
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