The plague of creepy clowns sweeping America landed in Crookston, Minnesota, over the weekend, when a clown holding a large butcher's knife was spotted walking through the town.
Crookston police officers were called to Taco Johns at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday after an 11-year-old boy was chased by three or four people, one of whom was dressed as a clown, according to a new release.
The boy was frightened and fled on a bike, with his grandmother calling the police when he got to the taco restaurant.
Her call was one of several reports of people dressed as clowns in various parts of town "standing in the street in the lane of traffic," police say.
Officers later came upon three teenagers, one 16-year-old girl and two 15 year old boys, in the area of North Broadway and 4th Ave North.
One of the boys was wearing a full clown costume and wig, and was found with a large knife on him. He was arrested and charges against him and the two others are pending.
The creepy clown craze
It's the latest incident in a nationwide epidemic of people dressing up as creepy clowns and frightening the bejesus out of citizens.
Up until now clown sightings in Minnesota have largely been rumor-fueled, with a Bloomington 13-year-old arrested last week after posting a clown image on an Instagram account he created that implied violence against Valleyview Middle School, WCCO reports.
Last weekend, three Minnesota police departments responded to clown reports in a single day.
One of them in Shakopee turned out to be a Halloween-inspired joke posted to Snapchat, while in Anoka police had to quash rumors that schools in the area were locked down to protect against creepy clowns.
In Farmington meanwhile, there were rumors someone calling himself "Bobo the Friendly Clown" had been spotted in a park and planned on visiting local schools during lunch time.
And there was a genuine citing across the border in Wisconsin recently.
The New York Post reports that it's not a laughing matter for sufferers of coulrophobia, fear of clowns, with pranksters said to be "terrifying adults and traumatizing children" across the U.S. and beyond.
The BBC reports the craze has spread across the Atlantic, with several reports in the U.K. including one instance in which a clown jumped out at a woman in a park.
In Crookston, the police are urging people not to get involved: "The Police Department is urging all citizens, for the safety of the entire community, to not take part in this national clown phenomenon.
"The Crookston Police Department warns the public that any incident of this type in which a person is frightened and in fear for their safety is a crime and will be investigated as such."