Not too many months ago, widespread reports of creepy clown sightings dominated headlines from coast to coast. The disturbing phenomenon peaked around Halloween, but not before dozens of creepy clown sightings, a handful of arrests, and even threats of movie-inspired “purge.” To this day, nobody really knows what motivated the creepy clown sightings of 2016, but now the freaky phenomenon seems to be returning.
As Heat Street reports, Highway 101 in California is the apparently the epicenter of this year’s crop of creepy clowns, and this time they aren’t waiting until the sun goes down to terrorize unsuspecting citizens. On Wednesday, officers from the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department reportedly responded to several 911 calls alerting them to the presence of a creepy clown walking along Highway 101, carrying what appeared to be a bloodied machete menacingly above his head.
When officers responded to the scene of the California creepy clown sighting, they did so with their guns drawn. The clown in question was wearing a light-blue suit and full “creepy clown face.” He was also holding a large machete. However, the “blood” reported by witnesses turned out to be nothing more than red-dyed cotton. He was also holding his thumb out and appeared to be hitchhiking.
The creepy clown was, apparently, unsuccessful in securing a ride.
However, a brief investigation by the California officers revealed that the clown in question was actually 61-year-old Larry Tovey. As part of their response to the multiple 911 calls, officers from the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department cuffed and questioned Tovey, who had terrified countless passersby with his stunt.
The newest edition to America’s slew of creepy clowns wasn’t arrested or even charge as a result of his jaunt down Highway 101, machete in hand. As the Huffington Post reports, officers who responded to the scene of the incident said that the creepy clown hadn’t left behind a victim. At least not one he’d directly threatened with his machete, which was what would have been necessary to elevate his disturbing behavior to a criminal level.
“The guy wasn’t charged because we didn’t have a victim that was threatened by him with the machete.”
Taking to their Facebook page, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department explained that a machete is technically a tool, not a weapon. That means that it’s not illegal to carry one in public. Even if you happen to be a creepy clown trying to hitch a ride on California’s Highway 101. Carrying a machete in public only become a legal issue if the person (or clown) doing the carrying starts using the potentially deadly tool to threaten someone.
So far, the sheriff’s office says that they have no information that their creepy clown threatened anyone with this faux-bloodied machete. Although the office did admit that it is possible.
“It stands to reason he may have threatened someone, but we don’t have any information on that. So we may not arrest on what he might have done.”
Police say that Tovey not only didn’t assault anyone, simply walking around dressed like a creepy clown didn’t meet the criteria for a disturbing the peace charge, even though he was carrying a machete.
What’s more, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office says that a psychiatric evaluation was performed on the 61-year-old creepy clown at the scene, just to be on the safe side. Officers claim he didn’t meet involuntary commitment guidelines, which effectively tied their hands with regard to getting the clown off the 101.
Police don’t even know why the man was dressed like a clown and freaking out motorists in the first place. Several concerned citizens took to social media to ask what his motive may have been, and the department admitted to being stumped.
“Wish we knew. Right now, as far as we know, he was standing there looking at traffic.”
While creepy clown Larry Tovey was free to go after being questioned by California cops, it’s possible that he could still be brought up on charges stemming from the incident. According to the sheriff’s department, the amount of attention that the case has gotten on social media has led to new information about the incident being reported, and the case is still being actively investigated.
The social media attention has also caused investigators to fear potential copycat creepy clowns in California, and the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department has asked all clowns to stay away from Highway 101.
[Featured Image by Monterey County Sheriff’s Department/Facebook]