Stop reporting fake clown sightings near schools, deputies warn

CLEVELAND COUNTY, N.C. — A North Carolina sheriff's office is warning people who falsely report clown sightings in the area after receiving two reports Wednesday at nearby schools.

We have had an anonymous call to a Cleveland County elementary school today reporting a clown on school premises and a...

Posted by Cleveland County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, September 7, 2016

>> Read the Facebook post here

The Cleveland County Sheriff's Office posted the warning on Facebook after it said deputies received a report of a clown at two schools.

"This is kind of getting a little bit out of hand," Capt. Joel Shores said. "We don't understand why people are doing it, but it becomes a serious issue when you start posting pictures of these clowns and saying you've seen them near a school."

A photo of a clown in the woods wasn't taken near Crest High School despite its caption, according to deputies.

>> Creepy clown sightings: Reports of man trying to lure kids into woods extend to second state

A parent called the principal of Township 3 Elementary School claiming she saw a clown on the playground, deputies also said.

Officials said both reports were investigated and found to be false.

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"There is real crime going on that we need to be worried about other than going to schools and checking the woods to see if there is a clown running around," he said.

>> Click here to see the photo

The warning comes as clowns have been spotted in several towns across North and South Carolina, most recently in Winston-Salem and High Point.

>> Parents warned about clown luring kids into woods in South Carolina

Police in Greenville, South Carolina, said clowns were trying to entice children into the woods and had also started knocking on doors.

A Greensboro resident reportedly spotted a clown near his apartment complex Tuesday, grabbed a machete and chased after the person.

>> Police: N.C. man with machete chases clown into woods

Cleveland County officials said false reports take away from the department’s ability to work other criminal cases.

Deputies said anyone who falsely reports sightings near schools will possibly face charges of obstruction of justice.