DES MOINES, Iowa -- For Des Moines police, the creepy clown scares started Tuesday with an online round of threats targeting Harding Middle School.
“We saw some social media postings, the way that thing typically goes is once it’s on the internet sooner or later we`ll be dealing with it,” said Sgt. Paul parizek.
Police quickly identified the student who sent it and determined there was no real threat.
The incident sparked copycats and officers looked into at least six similar cases Wednesday.
School administrators say this was part of a nationwide wave of social media hoaxes, none of which have been found to be credible.
Meanwhile police say -- real or not -- it's taking a toll on their department.
“We`re wasting a lot of resources investigating these crimes,” said Sgt. Parizek. “We have open homicide cases, when we have to investigate these cases, we have to pull off a detective. It`s taking away from our priority cases.”
Police warn clown pranksters will be arrested if you've committed a criminal act.
Parizek also says that those dressed in clown outfits run the risk of being a victim themselves, if they scare someone, that person could lash out in defense.