On October 6th, 2016 Benicia Middle School Resource Officer Jessica Woods was contacted by a school counselor with information he had obtained from a student regarding a Snapchat threat where a clown would be coming to campus.” SRO Woods investigated and found that this message was actually seen on Instagram from a user by the name of CLOWNS41. During Officer Woods investigation it was found that the message was referenced to Hogan, Vallejo, and Bethel Middle School (BMS). SRO Woods advised Vallejo PD of the message. There was also no mention of a specific threat other than a clown was coming to the school.
At approx. 8 pm, The Benicia Police Department began receiving calls from Benicia Middle School parents who were concerned about a threat that students were now finding from “Garbo the Clown.” “Garbo the Clown” posted, “I’m going to shoot up your school BMS.” As a precaution, the police department staffed the schools with extra officers and increased patrol around all Benicia Schools, but there were no clown sightings.
Detectives immediately began working on trying to identify “Garbo the Clown.” After an extensive investigation including authoring search warrants which were served on Instagram, the message was found to have been posted from a public WIFI address in New Mexico. This investigation uncovered additional “Garbo the Clown” threats which had been made in the New Mexico and Southern Nevada area. Detectives contacted and shared this investigation with Albuquerque PD in New Mexico as there is a Belen Middle School (BMS) in their jurisdiction. This case was also sent to the FBI.
In summary, there was no evidence or information any of the clown threats were ever intended to any Benicia School. This case was subsequently closed but remains monitored by our SRO’s and Detectives. The Benicia Police Department will continue to pursue and investigate any threat to public safety and work closely with the District Attorney’s Office to prosecute responsible(s) to the fullest extent of the law.