An insane clown a little too reminiscent of Pennywise took the tomfoolery too far Wednesday afternoon, as a grown man in an evil clown costume holding what appeared to be a bloody machete menaced motorists along Highway 101 in Monterey County. Numerous freaked out drivers on a stretch of road between Aromas and Prunedale called 911, requiring the Monterey Sheriff’s Department to come out and diffuse yet another clown threat.
“It can be fun to dress up as a clown, right? However, if you do please don't stand in the side of highway 101 at San Juan Rd holding a machete,” says some wise guidance from the Monterey Sheriff’s Office, via Facebook. “Larry Tovey, from Gilroy, did this today and startled a few people who called 911. Two deputies contacted Larry, with their guns drawn, and eventually figured out what he was up to.”
Which poses the question: What was he up to? “He stuck his thumb out with one hand, as if he was trying to hitchhike, and held a machete covered in fake blood with his other hand,” reports KSBW in Monterey.
Sheriff’s deputies drew guns on the clown at 3:20 p.m., who was then identified as the 61-year-old Larry Tovey noted above. He was questioned and handcuffed, but deputies determined he was merely clowning around and let him go.
“He didn't actually threaten anybody. He just had a sick sense of humor," sheriff’s commander John Thornburg told KSBW. "They let him go home.”
While this clown failed to amuse, the comment thread on the Monterey Sheriff’s Department Facebook post does elicit a few laughs as the department attempted to calm the alarmed Monterey residents’ complaints. “Just carrying it doesn't make it a deadly weapon,” the Sheriff's deputies explain one comment. “It's actually a tool and since he didn’t use it as a deadly weapon to threaten someone, there was no crime.”
“If it's not concealed (the knife, fixed blade not a folded knife) then no arrest,” explains another post. “In this case we don't have a victim of a brandishing, which includes threatening a person with the weapon.”
In related news, all this menacing clown business needs to stop. According to the evil clown crime statistics on Wikipedia, there were 12 evil clown incidents in California in 2016, primarily during the October Halloween season. These include an attempted clown child abduction in Concord, clowns threatening schools in Fairfield, and an attempted armed robbery by clowns in the Westfield Mall. Additionally, the SFUSD was forced to robocall parents to address clown concerns amid the creepy clown outbreak of October 2016.
Related: Clown Protestors Block Google Shuttle With Colorful Dance Numbers