Photo project prompts clown pranks around Bakersfield

Timothy A. Clary /AFP/Getty Images

There's apparently no longer a clown shortage — at least not in the Bakersfield area. 

Bakersfield police have heard nearly 20 reports of clowns with weapons in the last couple weeks, according to the L.A. Times

There is good news: The Kern County Sheriff's Department told The Bakersfield Californian that the department has responded to several clown-based calls, but haven't been able to substantiate any of them. The officer said the calls  were likely pranks.

The Bakersfield Californian reports:

Kern County sheriff's deputies responded to an intersection near Golden Valley High School Wednesday afternoon for a report of a clown, complete with orange hair and white clothing, chasing people with a club. Deputies couldn't find anyone matching that description, nor could they locate any victims.

Sheriff's spokesman Ray Pruitt said deputies have responded to several calls recently regarding clowns engaged in possible criminal activity. They haven't been able to substantiate any of the calls.

It seems to have started with the Wasco Clown, a terrifying photo project created by a husband-wife duo. The clown, holding balloons and looking creepy, can be seen in a series of nighttime photos on Instagram.

Photo: Scary clown on Instagram

Photo: Another scary photo

One prankster allegedly admitted to copying the the Wasco Clown. Pranks aside, deputies say they will continue to respond and that a person who knowingly calls in a false report could face charges.