A 12-year-old boy has been charged with terrorizing for clown-related threats he made to Lake Region Middle School and the town of Naples in general, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s office said Friday.

The boy, who is a student at the school, allegedly presented himself as a clown in a Facebook post and made violent threats, police said. The boy was not identified.

He was arrested Friday and released back to the custody of his parents.

Investigators determined that the threats were a hoax and that the boy had no intention of carrying them out.

Administrators for Facebook and the Lake Region Middle School assisted investigators to identify the source of the threats.

The case was referred to the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office juvenile division.

Although the boy’s name was not released by police, his identity may become public if he is charged with a felony. Terrorizing can be charged as either a Class C felony or a Class D misdemeanor, but it was unclear which portion of the statute was applied in this case.

The incidents comes amid a spate of creepy clown-related hoaxes. The first suspicious clown-related incidents occurred in South Carolina in late August, and spread quickly to half a dozen other states. The reports include people claiming to have been chased by clowns, or clowns attempting to lure away children. When called to investigate the claims, police have largely found the reports to be hoaxes, with about a dozen people being arrested nationwide for filing false reports.

But that has not stopped the creepy clown phenomenon from closing schools and rattling town officials. The recent threats in Naples appear to mimic other cases in which young people are found to have made clown threats on Facebook or other mediums, leading to real-world consequences.


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