Weeks after police in South Carolina started fielding reports of clowns attempting to lure children into woods, authorities 175 miles away are warning the public about similar reports.
Authorities in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, are stepping up patrols after getting two calls in just a few hours about a suspicious man dressed as a clown.
Lakisha Smith told WFMY she called police around 8:30 p.m. Sunday after her grandchildren told her that a man in a clown outfit tried to lure kids away from a group that was playing outside.
"I've never seen the kids like that. They were so distraught," she told the news station. "He offered them treats and candy to go into the woods. It's just scary."
The children told police the man wore white overalls, white gloves, red shoes and a red nose. He had bushy red hair and white face paint, according to WFMY.
The man was gone by the time police arrived.
A few hours later, at 12:20 a.m., a person called police after spotting a person dressed as a clown. The person did not provide additional information and officers found no sign of the person when they responded to the call, the Winston-Salem Journal reported.
The incidents are the latest in a string of similar clown sightings. Starting on Aug. 21, residents of Greenville, South Carolina, started reporting that someone dressed as a clown was trying to lure children into the woods.
"The clowning around needs to stop," Greenville Police Chief Ken Miller said Thursday at a news conference. "It's illegal, it's dangerous, it's inappropriate (and) it's creating community concern."