Police probe alleged clown attacks in Sterling Heights

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Police are investigating claims that people dressed up as clowns attacked a 7-year-old boy and scared two women in Sterling Heights, the latest in a series of Metro Detroit scary clown sightings.

The child reported someone wearing a clown mask with “red hair, a red nose and red facial features” approached him outside his home in the 43000 block of Normandy at about 6:50 p.m. Tuesday, police Lt. James Belmonte said.

The person, whose gender was unclear, then allegedly wielded an object and scratched the youth’s arm before fleeing on foot, he told authorities. Broadcast media reports said the suspected assailant had a knife, but police would not confirm that Tuesday night.

The boy was not seriously hurt in the attack, Belmonte said. It was unclear if he sought medical attention; the child remained at the scene with his mother after 8:30 p.m., according to Sterling Heights officials.

Another incident was reported at about 8:20 p.m. Tuesday near Lowell and Boulder, Belmonte said.

Investigators learned three adult males in “scary clown masks ... ran up on two women who were walking in the area,” he said.

The men had a baseball bat and were yelling, the women told police. At one point, they “hit the bat against a nearby fence then stopped and ran away,” Belmonte said.

Police are seeking tips to find the people involved. Anyone with information is asked to call the Sterling Heights Police Department at (586) 446-2804.

The incidents came days after another eerie encounter in the region drew attention on social media.

In a tweet posted on Twitter early Sunday, 17-year-old Chris Henckel wrote: “We just saw this clown on Cass and Moravian. He tried to follow our car. This is getting insane.”

The tweet includes a video showing a clown standing at a car wash, slowly waving at the camera. As of Monday evening, the video has been retweeted more than 7,100 times.

The video comes at a time when creepy clown sightings have caused problems across the country, including reports of people dressed as clowns trying to entice children into the woods in South Carolina and North Carolina.

Clinton Township police, where the car wash sighting occurred, said they have not received any calls or taken any police reports about clowns. Lt. John Michalke of the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office said he heard talk of the video Monday, but was unaware if the department took a report of the incident.

Henckel said Monday evening that the sighting was authentic. He said he was hanging out with friends when they drove to his house at nearly 3 a.m. to get money to buy food. While sitting at a light at the corner of Cass and Moravian, they noticed a shadowy figure at the car wash.

“My friend said, ‘What is that?’ ” Henckel said. “We thought it was just a really sketchy looking person. Then we looked closer. ... I was considering going through the red light to leave.”

They couldn’t drive off without getting a video, of course.

“We were terrified,” he said. “We weren’t sure what was going to happen. We were kind of freaking out. We wanted to drive away. We thought it would be pretty cool if we got something like that on video.”

Henckel said he’s passed by the car wash numerous times since the sighting, but hasn’t seen the clown.

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