Police in Tennessee say a report of a man trying to lure children to his car was all a misunderstanding — it was just an elderly man dressed up as a clown giving out candy on his birthday.
Clarksville police spokesperson Jim Knoll told BuzzFeed News that the department received a report Thursday that a man dressed as a clown with a white-painted face and a red nose was near a bus stop waving children over to him with a lollipop.
Turns out the man was just trying to celebrate his birthday by dressing up as a clown and handing out candy.
"The guy's in his seventies. He's a Vietnam vet, and every person I spoke to said he's a nice guy," Knoll said. "Nothing indicates he was doing anything nefarious."
According to a post on the police department's Facebook page, authorities spoke to people at a few places where the man frequents who said he's a "nice man that dresses up."
"There was also nothing that indicated to police that his actions were intentionally harmful or meant to scare anyone," the statement reads.
Knoll said that he understood people's concerns, adding that the man meant well and didn't want to cause harm.
"This guy's birthday got ruined," Knoll said. "This is the world we live in now. I understand it, but it's sad."
Thursday's police report was reminiscent of the great clown scare of 2016, when residents in Greenville, South Carolina, were on edge after several people reported seeing clowns trying to lure children into the woods. Some residents passed around photos believed to show the clowns. The people in the photos, however, turned out to be members of a New Hampshire performance art group, who told BuzzFeed News they had not traveled outside their state.