October 16, 2016 - 11:44 AM
WINNIPEG - Two teenaged boys in Winnipeg escaped with only a warning after police say they responded to a report of clowns chasing people.
Police say the report claimed one of the clowns was armed, and when officers arrived at the scene on Saturday night, they found multiple people who said they'd been chased.
Two 17-year-old boys were apprehended, and police say they found clown-like masks and a large flashlight.
Police say they considered charging the duo with weapons-related or mischief offences, but they cautioned the pair instead.
Police say dressing up as a clown in not against the law, but a person could face charges if there are grounds to believe he or she committed acts of mischief, or threatened, assaulted or harassed others.
Creepy clown sightings, threats and arrests have been reported across North America and even reached the United Kingdom.
"The Winnipeg Police Service takes matters like these very seriously, and encourages anyone considering engaging in this type of behaviour to stop and take a moment to consider the impact it may have on others, including themselves," police said in a news release Sunday.
Police said although creepy clowns appear to be merely pranksters who are only interested in scaring people, anyone in a similar situation who is concerned for their safety should call police immediately.
In North Battleford, Sask., RCMP say they received a report on Saturday of two creepy clowns hanging out in a park. But they say the complainant phoned back after realizing it was actually just two young children who were wearing masks.
Two recent creepy clown incidents in North Bay, Ont., prompted police there to issue a public notice last week that people who are considering dressing up as a prank could face prosecution.
In one of the incidents, police said they received a report that a person dressed as a clown was crouching in the bushes and scaring children on bicycles.
The number of creepy clown incidents has even prompted an announcement last week from McDonald's that Ronald McDonald would be keeping a low profile.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2016