St. James clown mystery solved

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(WGNO) -- The St. James Parish Sheriff's Office says it knows the identities of the two people who recently entered a grocery store while wearing clown costumes.  Sheriff Willy Martin, Jr., says both are 19 years old.

Martin says one of the teens came to the department this morning and confessed.  He says because the teen is cooperating, he is not releasing his name at this time.

The teen was issued a summons and cited for wearing a mask in public.

Martin expects to speak with the second clown suspect soon.

The incident happened Monday night at Matherne's Supermarket in Paulina.  Two people who were wearing clown costumes walked into the business and were met by the store's manager who ask them to identify themselves.  According to deputies, the pair did not and left the store with out taking anything or harming anyone.

The case in St. James Parish follows others around the country where people in clown costumes reportedly tried to lure kids into wooded areas or confronted them in other ways.

Martin says that in the case in his parish, the teens also thought it would be fun to try to scare kids but at one point decided to enter the supermarket.

The sheriff says the teens were only trying to prank people and scare them.  He says at no point was there a public threat or any danger.

But the sheriff worries that the teens could have been injured.  He says, given the reports from around the country and the spooky appearance of the clown costumes, he says someone could have felt a robbery was underway at the supermarket or could have felt that their life was threatened and used a handgun or other weapon in self defense.