Augusta Sheriff addresses recent report of clown sightings in co - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Augusta Sheriff addresses recent report of clown sightings in county

Clowns were spotted in Augusta over the weekend, the Sheriff's Office reports.  (Source: Wikimedia) Clowns were spotted in Augusta over the weekend, the Sheriff's Office reports. (Source: Wikimedia)

The headlines have been peppered recently with reports of clowns lurking in wooded areas and other locations and a similar sighting was reported in Augusta.

In a statement from Sheriff Donald Smith shared by NBC affiliate WVIR, “On Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office received a call for service regarding a clown sighting in the 100 block of River Bend Road in Fort Defiance.”

Smith said the call was placed by a citizen that was in the area fishing with his children. The man said he was approached by two different vehicles leaving the area at a high rate of speed, with both stopping to warn him that several people in the nearby woods were dressed up as clowns.

The sheriff said the caller told them the people leaving the area were “pretty upset” over the clown sightings.

Smith also reiterated Code of Virginia section §18.2-422, which prohibits a person over 16 years of age from wearing a mask, hood, or other device to cover or conceal the identity of the wearer.

§ 18.2-422. Prohibition of wearing of masks in certain places; exceptions.

It shall be unlawful for any person over 16 years of age to, with the intent to conceal his identity, wear any mask, hood or other device whereby a substantial portion of the face is hidden or covered so as to conceal the identity of the wearer, to be or appear in any public place, or upon any private property in this Commonwealth without first having obtained from the owner or tenant thereof consent to do so in writing. However, the provisions of this section shall not apply to persons (i) wearing traditional holiday costumes; (ii) engaged in professions, trades, employment or other activities and wearing protective masks which are deemed necessary for the physical safety of the wearer or other persons; (iii) engaged in any bona fide theatrical production or masquerade ball; or (iv) wearing a mask, hood or other device for bona fide medical reasons upon (a) the advice of a licensed physician or osteopath and carrying on his person an affidavit from the physician or osteopath specifying the medical necessity for wearing the device and the date on which the wearing of the device will no longer be necessary and providing a brief description of the device, or (b) the declaration of a disaster or state of emergency by the Governor in response to a public health emergency where the emergency declaration expressly waives this section, defines the mask appropriate for the emergency, and provides for the duration of the waiver. The violation of any provisions of this section is a Class 6 felony.

Source: Code of Virginia 

A Class 6 felony is punishable by one to five years of incarceration and a fine of not more than $2500. Either or both may apply if convicted of this offense.

“This is a growing problem across the Commonwealth,” Sheriff Smith remarked, urging people not to take part in the illegal behavior. “Dressing as a clown and approaching people can result in someone getting seriously hurt. I strongly recommend not to engage in this behavior and want everyone to be aware of the Va. law which prohibits this behavior.”

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