After a person posing as a clown threatened Montgomery schools on social media this weekend, Montgomery law enforcement officials are working to find the person behind the mask.
In a press conference late Monday afternoon, Mayor Todd Strange, Sheriff Derrick Cunningham, Montgomery Police Chief Ernest Finley, and Montgomery Public Schools Superintendent Margaret Allen addressed the carnival surrounding the clown threat to Montgomery schools with Strange saying there is no evidence indicating “any viable threats” to Montgomery.
“Parents, you need to know what your kids are posting, what your kids are doing. We have ways of finding out who is doing this, and trust me, everybody in law enforcement is looking,” Cunningham said. “We’re following on every little lead that comes in ... If you’re the person putting stuff out here, we’re going to find you, and we’re going to prosecute you.”
After the clown-based Facebook account named Bingerman Clownferd threatened to visit five Montgomery schools this week, Allen said MPS contacted law enforcement and made sure each school had adequate security staffing.
MPS Senior Communication Officer Tom Salter said Tuesday no clown has been sighted at a school yet.
Troy Police Department caught two teenagers posing as clowns yesterday and have not pressed charges despite similar threats of violence, but Finley said the Montgomery clown could face charges of disruption of operation and terroristic threats if identified.
“Once you make that threat that you’re going to do … some type of harm or disrupt the operation of a school or business, that’s when law enforcement jumps in to vigorously put a charge and deal with that issue immediately,” Finley said.
Finley and Cunningham also advised that anybody reporting fake clown sightings to 911 will also be charged.
Finley said MPD reached out to Alabama Law Enforcement Agency who gathered facts from other states about recent clown sightings.
In South Carolina, for instance, clowns were reportedly using cash to try to lure children into the woods. In Georgia last week, clowns were reported as chasing kids away from bus stations.
Finley said some of the intelligence gathered points to a possible marketing ploy for the newest Rob Zombie movie “31.” The film’s distributor Saban Films, however, issued a statement in recent weeks saying, “The company and the film '31' are not associated in any way with the creepy clowns and costumed characters found roaming the South.”