ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Halloween has come early this year and more local clown sightings have people spooked. Albuquerque police had to be called out Sunday morning after spotting a trio of creepy clowns with what appeared to be a gun — a stupid prank could’ve easily turned deadly.
People remember a time when pranks were just that — jokes and harmless fun.
“I hate to admit this, but in my day, we used to T.P. houses,” said Suzanne Bailey, an Albuquerque resident.
A recent clown trend that has been sweeping the country takes practical jokes to another level, and this weekend it came to Albuquerque.
“She saw three what she thought were adults wearing clown masks, and absolutely one of them was holding a hand gun, she thought she was about to get robbed,” said Officer Simon Drobik, Albuquerque Police Dept.
APD officers responded to the Babies R’ US near Eubank and I-40 Sunday morning, but when police arrived the trio fled.
“Those three individuals ran across the freeway, ditched the masks, and ditched the gun,” said Drobik.
The two 13-year-old males and one 14 year-old male — who police believe were high — were taken into custody. The recovered gun turned out to be a very realistic looking air-soft gun. Police said because of that, this could’ve ended very differently.
“If an officer sees them with a gun, people are making split second decisions across the nation, and a gun like this, it looks so real,” said Drobik.
This incident ended with nobody hurt. And the teens were picked up by their parents, but their poor decisions could have cost them their lives.
“They’re just very lucky today they didn’t get hurt on the freeway or there wasn’t a mistake made because they had this firearm,” said Drobik.
With clown sightings becoming an issue in several communities in New Mexico, police departments across the state are asking people to stay away from masked pranks — all together.
“With Halloween coming along, just keep the masks off. I know there’s a clowning thing going on. Just keep yourself out of trouble,” said Drobik.
The teens were only given a citation for obstructing traffic while running across the freeway. They did not point the toy gun at anyone, which would have been a felony.
“We would like to emphasize how dangerous this situation could have been, dressing like clowns while holding what appeared to be a firearm and terrorizing the public will always illicit a police response,” said Drobik.