PHILLIPSBURG — Following reports that started last week, and continue into this week, of people dressed as clowns randomly passing through several towns in eastern Pennsylvania, the apparent trend has crossed the Delaware River into New Jersey.

Surprised clown
Minerva Studio, ThinkStock

NJ Advance Media reported the first of four sightings in Phillipsburg this week was on Sunday night at Walters Park. That night, police told the news organization,  three clowns reportedly emerged from the woods and tried to chase down a child. Three more incidents followed on Monday: one on Hudson Street, another on Shafer Avenue — that one said to have involved a jester holding a sword, pursuing another child — and yet another on Mercer Street, where several clowns were seen hanging out the window of a dark-colored truck, according to the report.

Authorities also told the publication that their investigation into the identities and whereabouts of these clowns has, so far, come up empty. reported similar sightings in nearby Easton, Pennsylvania less than a week earlier.

Several weeks ago, New Jersey State Police — noting reports of "creepy" clown encounters in other states — urged residents to speak about safety regarding strangers with their children. They advised:

• Tell them who they can expect to come and get them in an emergency (family member or close friend)

• When walking to school, there is strength in numbers—walk in a group

• Never get into a stranger’s car

• Keep a safe distance from strangers asking for directions or help

• Tell your kids to yell, scream and kick if grabbed by a stranger

• Look around, stop looking for Pokemon—be aware of your surroundings

• If a stranger claims to be a cop but is not in uniform, kids should find a trusted adult.

Patrick Lavery produces “New Jersey’s First News” and is New Jersey 101.5’s morning drive breaking news reporter. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email

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