Four cited in Portland clown hoax that caused "wide spread panic" in community
Portland, Tenn.--The Portland Police Department says a photograph circulating on Facebook of clowns in a field which caused "wide spread panic in the community" is a practical joke and the individuals are of no threat.
The photo depicts two people dressed to look like clowns in the area of Portland High School. Police say they conducted an investigation, discovering the source of the photo and the identity of the two individuals. While deemed not to be a threat, police are encouraging people to avoid sharing photos and stories on social media unless they are able to confirm their authenticity and if they actually pose a threat to the community.
Four individuals have been cited in relation to the incident.
Police say Nicholas Douglas (20), Mark Sloan (24), Matthew Sloan (26), and Candice Sloan (22), have been cited through the Portland City Court under a city ordinance which prevents the wearing of a mask in public to disguise one's identity.
Douglas and Mark Sloan were charged with violating the ordinance while Mathew Sloan and Candice Sloan were charged as accessories to the violation.
The citations come after a weekend where several state agencies warned of 'clown sightings' and potential dangers.
On Monday, the Coffee County Sheriff's Office announced the arrest of a 64-year-old Manchester man who called dispatchers twice, threatening to kidnap and cut the ears off of children.