LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

A panicked 17-year-old thought he was being chased by an armed clown in West Bloomfield Township when he banged on a stranger’s door to ask for help, police said.

A female resident living on the 4000 block of Lakecrest Drive called 911 around 8:10 p.m. Monday to report a “suspicious” person after hearing the teen bang on her door, Deputy Chief Curt Lawson said.

“We were able to view some security cameras at the home that confirmed the young man was looking over his shoulder while pounding on the door, as if he was looking for somebody,” Lawson said.

The teen was gone when officers arrived, but they located him at his nearby cousin’s house.

“He said he was running from a clown that was chasing after him with a knife,” Lawson said.

The teen told investigators he was jogging along Pontiac Trail when he heard someone run through the woods toward him.

“He turned and saw an unknown subject with a white hood and red earmuffs, who appeared to have a large knife in his hand,” Lawson said. “The subject slipped and fell down as he was trying to exit the wooded area. The victim ran from the suspect onto Lakecrest Drive and ended up at this lady’s house.”

Detectives “flooded the area” to look for the suspect but came up empty, Lawson said. The case is under investigation but detectives do not yet have many leads.

“We don’t have a whole lot to go off on at this time and we don’t have confirmation on whether it was a real knife, or some sort of prop,” he said. “But obviously incidents like this would be criminal in nature. If we’re able to identify the suspect, we’ll be pursuing a criminal investigation.”

In the meantime, the police department is stepping up patrols “because of the current trend that’s sweeping the country,” Lawson said. Officers will focus especially on Devil’s Night and Halloween later this month.

Monday’s incident was the fourth clown encounter in the township in about two weeks, Lawson said.

“Although it appears most of these incidents are pranks, there’s a potential that there’s going to be a negative outcome and someone is going to feel threatened and feel the need to defend themselves,” Lawson said. “That’s our biggest concern right now.”

This incident is the another in a string of recent clown scares reported across Metro Detroit. Clowns are also popping up nationwide, causing police to treat them as a potential threat to public safety.

The local incidents began to unfold Oct. 2, when 17-year-old Chris Henckel posted a photo on Twitter of a clown standing in a car wash bay in Clinton Township at night, slowly waving at Henckel’s camera. “He tried to follow our car,” Henckel wrote. “This is getting insane.”

The encounters also have included reports of people dressed up as clowns attacking a 7-year-old boy and scaring two women in Sterling Heights.

Two women in Roseville were charged after allegedly dressing up as clowns and terrorizing two teenaged girls.

HFournier@detroitnews.com

(313) 223-4616

@HollyPFournier

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://detne.ws/2eaTClc