A group of clowns in Maryland has decided not to take part in a parade amid a recent rash of creepy clown sightings across several states.

Tom Holland, a member of the Ali Ghan Shrine Club's clown unit, tells the Cumberland Times-News (http://bit.ly/2dxztq7) the group won't be participating in a scheduled parade in Hagerstown.

Holland says the group is also considering whether to take part in an upcoming Cumberland parade.

Since August, people in states including South Carolina, Maryland, Georgia, among others, have reported scary or suspicious encounters with people dressed like clowns, spreading fear through several communities.

Some of the reported sightings have been hoaxes.

Law enforcement agencies warn that people making false reports as well as those dressing up and trying to scare others will be charged.

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Information from: Cumberland (Md.) Times-News, http://www.times-news.com/timesnew.html