Photo from a Facebook thread of pranksters photographing themselves.
"I live close to CV [Chula Vista] high school and my husband and I have already been confronted by these stupid clowns," said Egla Cordero Ortiz of Chula Vista in a Facebook post on October 10. "People are dressing up like clowns thinking it's fun to scare people."
Scary clown sightings are being reported in several South Bay locations and local residents are becoming concerned.
Sightings have been reported in Imperial Beach, in Berry Park in Nestor, in Eastlake Chula Vista, and near the Bonita Vista and Castle Park high schools.
The scary clown phenomenon has been reported across the country for several weeks; Utah police had to warn citizens not to shoot "random clowns."
Lashon Morris of Imperial Beach called the Sheriff's Department on October 8 after being "spooked" by a "clown with balloons" in Teeple Park after dark when the park was closed. Another scary clown in Imperial Beach was reported via Facebook on October 6 on Imperial Beach Boulevard near the Tijuana Estuary.
Authorities are aware of the situation though no one has been arrested yet.
“The Sheriff's Department has had some minor reports of suspicious behavior by people wearing clown masks/costumes,” said Jan Caldwell of the San Diego Sheriff’s Department. “The perpetrators have been juveniles and no arrests have been made, nor citations been issued. The teens were asked by deputies to cease loitering in clown costumes and all have complied.”
Many residents say the reports make their children afraid.
"My friend's kids are scared to go out at night because of this," said Kathy Rodriguez via social media about the Chula Vista incidents. "Now they are scared that the clowns are going to their elementary school."
"Our bike was stolen a couple of weeks ago and my 6-year-old mentioned that maybe the scary mean clown took it," said Adriana Aceves of Imperial Beach. "He is 6 and already knows about it."
In some cases the clownsters are taking photos of themselves in these locations and spreading the images via social media.
Some report fear for the clowns rather than of them, out of concern that someone will attack the pranksters.
"See the more they do this stupid shit the more will be shot," said Craig Hill concerning the Chula Vista sightings.
"Come on people, we can't be judgmental just because someone is dressed like a clown," said Jorge Perez.
"When did we decide as a society that's it's okay to threaten to beat people who are dressed up," asked Adrián Sánchez Moreno of Imperial Beach, "or threaten to kill them?"
But not everyone thinks the clowns are harmless.
"They aren't just taking pictures and being cute," Ortiz said. "They run up on people to scare them. I'm not saying to shoot them or hunt them but put this out there as a warning to be vigilant if you are walking at night, especially if you are with your kids."