Cops: Girl, 13, behind ‘scary clown’ threats
Authorities have unmasked a “scary clown” who used social media to make a series of violent threats last weekend targeting numerous city schools.
A 13-year-old girl was behind the charade, which caught the attention of the School District of Philadelphia, local police and the federal Office of Homeland Security, police say.
“As a result of the ongoing investigative efforts by law enforcement and tips provided by citizens, a 13yrs old [sic] juvenile female, who attends a local school has been identified as a participant involved in these posts placed on Instagram,” Philadelphia police said in a news release on Monday.
Authorities said that the girl told them that the posts were intended as a prank. She and a friend carried out the hoax and did not intend to harm anyone. The posts mirrored similar real or perceived threats reported in other states.
One day earlier, police and the school district had released a joint statement “reassuring” parents and school communities that they were “taking this matter seriously” and “actively investigating these social media posts.”
Police did not specify what online name that the girl used to post the threats, which named several Northeast schools including Northeast High, MaST Charter, New Foundations Charter and Tacony Academy. Several different “handles” posted similar comments about “coming for” students at dismissal times. At least one post threatened to shoot students and teachers, while another threatened to kidnap them.
No criminal charges had been filed by Tuesday afternoon. Police said that the case will be referred to the District Attorney’s Office for review. ••