A 15-year-old was detained for questioning in Jerusalem late Thursday night after the police found him carrying a scary mask and a plastic hatchet. His parents were summoned to the police station.
Also on Thursday night, police in Nazareth Ilit noticed a 14-year-old hiding in the bushes and found a mask and plastic pistol in his bag. He was questioned as a criminal suspect and released to house arrest for five days.
In addition, a 16-year-old from southern Jerusalem was found with a knife, which he claimed he was carrying to defend himself from clowns. He was detained for questioning, and his parents were summoned to the police station.
The Safed municipality began a campaign against the scary clown phenomenon, with the slogan: My little clown, here you will end up with a criminal record.
During the Sukkot holiday, the police handled seven incidents related to clowns, some of which involved minors who wore masks and went out to scare passersby in public places all over the country.
Over the past few weeks, the international outbreak of threatening clown sightings, originally inspired by Stephen Kings 1986 horror novel which was recently adapted into a film, "It," reached Israel.
Two young men were detained in Jerusalem for carrying a pocket knife and brass knuckles, which they say they were carrying for self defense against people dressed up as clowns. In Tel Mond, a young woman was treated after being attacked by a man in a clown costume. She was very lightly injured.
Another 15 youths, some under the age of 12, have been detained over the past two weeks and questioned on suspicions of scaring passersby around the country. They are suspected of jumping out at strangers in public places. Police said that although the young culprits are simply playing pranks and behaving mischievously, the situation has reached a level that impacts citizens daily lives and routines.
The police have requested that the public refrain from taking matters into their own hands, and not to hurt the youth involved ... but instead leave the area and report the event to the police as soon as possible.
According to police, the activity is part of an international trend, popularized on social media, in which the perpetrators upload videos of themselves surprising unsuspecting strangers in the streets by popping out at them dressed in creepy clown costumes.
The police noted that although they are only pranks, such actions are illegal and will be taken seriously. The concern is that the target of the prank will misinterpret the joke as threatening and will injure the perpetrator, said the police.
The frightening act and intention behind it is usually not to injure or harm the person or their property. In most situations, the best option is to distance oneself from the area and to report the event to police as quickly as possible, they said.
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