OCEAN COUNTY LAW ENFORCEMENT RESOLVE LOCAL CLOWN REPORT CASES – BOTH UNRELATED
REPORTS OF SOUTH TOMS RIVER CLOWN ATTACK FALSE
CRY WOLF JUVENILE CHARGED
In the first case, Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato and South Toms River Police Chief Andrew Izatt today announced a 14 year old South Toms River Female was charged with Creating a False Public Alarm. The juvenile told her mother that she was chased by a person armed with a knife and dressed as a clown this morning while walking to the school bus stop.
The investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s High Tech Crime Unit (HTCU) and the South Toms River Police Department began this morning when they learned of the posting by concerned area residents. The partnering agencies immediately began efforts to substantiate the alarming Facebook post of the alleged attack and to apprehend the reported clown attacker. South Toms River Police quickly increased patrols in response to the report, while the OCPO HTCU worked to locate the origin of the post in order to collect additional information. Within a few hours, the investigation would ultimately lead to the South Toms River juvenile, who recanted her story.
The juvenile has been remanded to the custody of her parents to answer the charges in Juvenile Court. It should be noted that under New Jersey’s current law, the parents will be required to make restitution for the police services expended while responding to the False Public Alarm. That amount will be determined at a future date.
JUVENILE ARRESTED FOR KILLER CLOWN HOAX
In the second case, on the evening of October 4th, the Toms River Police Department was made aware of a posting on Instagram regarding an unspecified threat to Intermediate School East. The post from “Killerclownfromnj” stated “Some people wanted Toms River Intermediate East Middle School; I will be there at 8:37 sharp on Thursday, October 6th 2016!!”
Through the overnight hours Toms River Police Detectives coordinated with The Ocean County Prosecutors Office High Tech Crime Unit to evaluate the social media postings and if there was any credible threat. Superintendent of Toms River Schools, David Healy, was made aware of the situation and coordinated with the police department to provide extra security measures at all schools within the township. At no time was there any credible threat to students and this incident appears to be an ill-conceived hoax.
The investigation identified the perpetrator as a 12 year old female who attends school within the township. In addition to disciplinary action levied by the school she was charged with one third degree criminal count of 2C33-3(2); causing false public alarm. The investigation was conducted by Toms River Police Detective Jon Turner and members of the Ocean County Prosecutors Office High Tech Unit.
The media and the public are reminded that criminal charges are merely accusations and that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
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