FAIR LAWN, N.J. — It's nothing short of a sinister craze. Creepy clowns wreaking havoc and causing terror have been a fad off and on for more than 30 years. Now that the craze is back, police are having to respond since this version features potential violence and danger.
Officers in New York City, in North Jersey and on Long Island continue to respond to so-called creepy clown incidents from the day before.
Investigators are searching for attackers after incidents on the Upper East Side and in Malvern and Lakeview on Long Island. In north Jersey, however, cops made two arrests.
"I actually slammed on my brakes," said a woman, 24, who was victimized by an SUV filled with clown-clad passengers in North Jersey. "I threw my arms over the passenger seat, and tried to swerve my car a little bit."
Speaking with PIX11 News in a phone interview, she did not want her identity revealed for fear of retaliation.
Two passengers in the SUV were hanging out of the windows, threatening passing cars. When she passed by in hers, the sole car on the road at the time, the other vehicle gave chase.
It was dark, about 1:10 a.m. Wednesday.
"It was a lot to handle," she told PIX11 News. "To think, 'What if these guys have some type of weapon, and now they're following us?"
She was driving with a friend in the passenger seat. They called 911, and stayed on the phone with police as they were tailed from Butler, N.J., to Fair Lawn — about 18 miles.
When she arrived in Fair Lawn, a cop who'd been listening to the police radio was waiting to swoop in.
"I saw the vehicle and it matched the description on our radios," said Officer Luis Vasquez of the Fair Lawn Police Department.
He immediately pulled over the SUV, and the victim stopped as well and made a positive identification of the people in the vehicle.
Vasquez said he was disappointed by them.
"These people did not know the victims," he told PIX11 News. "It's bad. Here they are with these clown masks terrorizing people. They could've caused a bad accident. They could have caused people to get hurt."
The driver of the creepy-clown car was cited for reckless driving, a passenger in his vehicle was slapped with a charge of possession of a dangerous controlled substance. Two other passengers were sent home, but not before their sinister masks were confiscated.
Meanwhile in Nassau County, Long Island, there are increased police patrols in Lakeview. That's where a 14-year-old was walking down a path on Wednesday when somebody wearing a crazy clown mask and wielding a knife ran after him.
Patrols were also increased at nearby Malvern High School, which the victim attends. The attacker may be a student at the school, as well.
In any case, police have a message for that person:
"This put this 14 year-old in fear of his life," said Det. Lieutenant Richard Lebrun, of the Nassau County Police Department. "That is what we call menacing. It's a penal law offense, punishable by up to one year in prison."
Nassau County police are searching for that creepy clown.
The NYPD now has one of its own, as well. Somebody wearing a clown suit on Wednesday afternoon had a kitchen knife that he pointed at a teen on a No. 6 train at 96th Street.
The creepy clown also prevented other passengers from exiting the train, just before 2 p.m. That man will face a menacing charge when caught.
Meanwhile, Halloween is a little more than three weeks away. Clown costumes are part and parcel of the holiday. As for donning the costume, there's a word of advice from the officer who busted the creepy-clown car in North Jersey.
"I don't think if they're a clown, it's going to make a difference," Vasquez said, "as long as they're doing the the right thing morally and respectfully."