HOGANSVILLE — Two people were arrested about 6 p.m. Wednesday for allegedly calling 911 to falsely report a sighting of clowns near the intersection of Hammett and White Bluff roads.
Brandon Moody, 26, of LaGrange, and his sister-in-law Rebecca Moody, 27, of Valley, Alabama, allegedly admitted to Troup County Sheriff’s deputies they called emergency dispatchers and said two people dressed in clown costumes were trying to lure children into a white van, stated Sheriff James Woodruff.
Each one made separate calls to 911 to report the sighting, Woodruff said.
TCSO deputies responded to the area and found two people in a white van who ran out of gas, the Sheriff said. Deputies checked the vehicle and the surrounding woods and did not find any clown masks or costumes.
TCSO investigators then made contact with the two 911 callers, who told them the story was a hoax, said Woodruff.
Both were taken into custody and will each be charged with one count of unlawful conduct during a 911 call and one count of obstruction of an officer. The last charge was added since the pair prevented TCSO deputies from performing their official duties during an investigation, Woodruff said.
“We have zero tolerance for anybody calling in false reports,” Woodruff said firmly.
The “creepy clown”phenomenon also continued to spread on social media sites throughout the county.
Callaway Middle School located 2244 Hammett Road was placed on a “soft lock down” Wednesday, said Deb Myers with the Troup County School System.
Someone threatened the school campus on a social media site, said TCSO Investigator Kendall Ham.
In addition to the school resource officer, TCSO deputies canvassed the school and patrolled the area throughout the day, Ham said.
The threat is still under investigation.
LaGrange police are also inundated with calls from concerned citizens about Facebook posts circulating with stories of clowns in a van spotted in neighborhoods talking to children.
Those reports have been checked by police officers and are unsubstantiated, Lt. Dale Strickland told the LaGrange Daily News on Tuesday.
The two agencies are working together to check out “creepy clown” threats on all social media sites, plus put an end to the false reports and sightings.
“We are doing a joint investigation with the LaGrange Police Department. … We are taking it very seriously,” said Ham. “… If people are caught and identified (posting false reports) they could face serious charges.”
Brandon and Rebecca Moody were in Troup County Jail waiting to be processed as of press time Wednesday evening.
Editor’s note: The Daily News usually only identifies those charged with felonies, but due to the highly public nature of the recent “creepy clown” reports causing public unrest, we have identified the two charged with false reports in this story.
Melanie Ruberti is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. She can be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2156.