Students at Merrimack College were advised to "shelter in place" Monday night following a report of a suspicious person on the North Andover, Massachusetts campus that turned out to be a hoax.
The students received a text alert reading" All students are to shelter in place... Suspicious person dressed as a clown may be armed. Await further instruction from college."
School officials said one residence hall was briefly evacuated and searched but nothing suspicious was found. Students were let back into the hall at 10 p.m., about 30 minutes after the initial alert was issued.
A college spokesperson said the reported clown sighting was actually a hoax. A Twitter user sent out a tweet and then a staff member alerted authorities, leading to the lockdown.
The incident is the latest in a string of creepy clown sightings around the country in recent weeks.
Over the weekend, police in Swansea, Massachusetts said they received several calls from people reporting that there was someone dressed as a scary clown walking around the Swansea Mall parking lot. There were no reports of criminal behavior.