The Pennsylvania State Police and others are encouraging caution amid a rash of public complaints and social media reports in a number of states of people dressed like clowns acting suspiciously, even if they think many are knucklehead pranksters or downright bogus.
Real clowns are just plain miffed, saying the mostly bogus reports are hurting their image and business.
Authorities in Greenville, South Carolina, were among the first to report a clown-related incident in recent weeks. Late last month, some children reported clowns trying to lure them into the woods with money. Authorities found no evidence - not even a prankster in a clown suit.
But for whatever reason, people in Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina and, now, Pennsylvania, have since reported scary or suspicious encounters with people dressed like clowns.
Police in Pottsville, Schuylkill County, are investigating one such report, which involved two men dressed as clowns yelling at a group of children in the area of Wolfe Street and Greenwood Avenue.
Police said when they arrived, the clowns were gone.