San Francisco appears to have its first “creepy clown” sighting, as reports of people wearing clown masks –– and performing pranks and more sinister acts –– have swept the nation in recent weeks and months.
And, perhaps coming as no surprise to locals, San Francisco’s clown showed up on a Muni bus.
The clown was spotted by city resident Colleen Ivie the night of Friday, Sept. 30, when she boarded a 5-Fulton bus inbound at McAllister and Baker streets to head to a friend’s birthday party.
The clown was seated across from her.
“He was not talking to anyone in particular, but was being loud and a bit crazy,” Ivie told the San Francisco Examiner in a Facebook message. “When he saw me raise my phone in his direction, he shouted, ‘No pictures.’ I took a picture anyway and he flipped me off.”
Ivie and her fellow partygoer, her daughter’s friend from out of town, got off the bus at Civic Center and “took an Uber the rest of the way,” she said.
The out-of-towner was a friend of Ivie’s daughter, a 22-year-old woman. “I’ve lived in San Francisco long enough that I’m not creeped out easily,” Ivie said, but “my concern was for my young 22-year-old female traveling companion who had only arrived in San Francisco a few days before.’”
“This ‘clown’ is really [screwing] up her first experience,” Ivie said.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which runs Muni, did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the “creepy clown” passenger.
Clown sightings have been reported throughout the Bay Area in the past week, though the “creepy clown” threat has been directed mainly toward schools in the region and across the country this year. The threats, posted on social media sites like Instagram, began earlier this year on the East Coast and have spread to the West Coast.
Most of the threats have been hoaxes. The clowns have scared people but few have been dangerous.
The most menacing recent incident, however, occurred in Concord, where a mother reported a “creepy clown” tried to kidnap her 1-year-old child Wednesday afternoon.
The San Francisco Unified School District issued a statement noting that while there has been “no credible threat” of clowns in The City, the district and Police Department have been communicating about the phenomenon.
The district and SFPD are monitoring social media posts, the district wrote in its statement, “including rumors that clowns would show up at schools threatening to do harm. Schools will use safety precautions if necessary, including prohibiting unauthorized visitors, and will immediately contact law enforcement when warranted.”
The FBI is now investigating the ongoing “creepy clown” phenomenon, a spokesperson for the Oakland Unified School District said Friday.
Bay City News Service contributed to this report.