Police Response to Alleged Clown Sightings

Alleged Clown Sightings are gaining attention Nationwide. Winchester Police want to remind residents: It is illegal to wear a mask in public.  The crime is a Class 6 Felony and punishable up to 5 years in jail.

The Winchester Police Department has received one reported sighting of a clown.  On Monday evening, a caller reported seeing a person dressed as a clown near a wooded area in Jim Barnett Park. Officers searched the park and talked with people in the area, but did find anything suspicious.

There are no cases of people being harmed, and no indication there is any risk to public safety. “If people think they are being funny, they need to realize the serious impact they are having on feelings of security in the community,” said Chief Kevin Sanzenbacher.  “We will make arrests if we catch anyone wearing a mask, or concealing their identity, in violation of state law.”

Police also want to remind residents to call 911 immediately if they see anything suspicious.  Don’t post it on social media, or call police in response to a social media post.  Officers will only respond to first-hand accounts. It is also illegal to falsify a call to Emergency Communications.  Knowingly filing a false police report or making false statements to law enforcement is a Class 1 misdemeanor, and is punishable up to a year in jail.

Winchester Police will continue to patrol the city and provide high visibility in areas such as Shenandoah University and Jim Barnett Park.