JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The recent hoax of creepy clowns popping up and taunting people has been happening in cities across the country.
Reports have come in about these clowns luring in children to wooded areas.
News4Jax spoke with a local man who dresses up as a professional clown to promote his business and he is angry about the growing trend.
Jeremy Spicer is a toymaker for Germ Spider Designs. He takes stuffed animals and turns them into scary works of art.
Spicer makes a living off his artwork and doesn't want the creepy clown sightings to ruin his business.
"I get old discarded toys and I turn them into pieces of art. A lot of my art is centered around circuses, clowns, creepy monsters and all that," Spicer said. "It’s what I grew up loving, and weirdly there’s a market for it. I take old toys, I hand make all the teeth individually and do this for a living."
Spicer dresses up in his creepy clown attire to promote his horror artwork. One of his pieces was even purchased by an actress from the hit TV show "American Horror Story."
He has gotten odd stares and a scream or two, but Spicer is now the one getting nervous.
“I’ve been doing this for seven years, I shouldn’t walk out of my house, scared to put something on that I make a living doing," Spicer said.
Spicer thinks the hysteria over the clowns is what's pushing people to extremes.
“The clown hoax thing, it always happens around Halloween, but never to this extent," Spicer said.
Another concern being raised is the threats Spicer has received.
“I was doing a promo video for a haunt (house) I’m working at. The video I was just in character, telling people to come check out this haunt (house) and all that, clearly just promoting," Spicer said. "It got shared a number of times, which is great, but as I was going through reading the comments, one of the comments was basically saying If I ever saw this clown on the street, I would shoot him.”
Regular clowns working birthday parties have started to get threats, as well.
According to the New York Times, the hoax has led to 12 arrests in multiple states.
“It’s one thing to do a prank, it’s another thing to do a prank in such a way that causes panic," Spicer said. "That’s not a prank anymore. That’s terror. That’s acting dumb.”
Clown sightings have been reported in Gainesville, Nassau County and more recently, Flagler County.
Flagler County Sheriff's Office said a woman spotted the clown in her backyard and was able to take a picture of it to report to police. Deputies believe the clown was trying to scare kids getting off the bus.
Deputies urge people to not take the law into their own hands and call police to report any clown sightings that seem out of place.