A NOTORIOUS American youth gang known for its violent street crime and penchant for wearing clown make-up as a disguise has hit Sydney.
Police are investigating a possible connection between an attempted robbery in Fairfield and the gang known as “Juggalos” – or Juggalettes, for female members – made famous by criminal activities in the US.
The gang is also believed to be trying to recruit more members, with the group holding what is believed to be its first national “gathering” in Victoria next month. The gang already runs a number of online blogs and chat sites for members and those aspiring to join.
Three men wearing the Juggalos’ trademark clown make-up attempted to rob a woman outside Fairfield RSL Club and were captured on CCTV footage wearing their “disguise”.
About 12.10am on June 28, a 20-year-old woman was waiting outside the club for her boyfriend to pick her up when she was approached by the youths.
The men pulled chains from their pockets and demanded the woman’s bag but when her boyfriend arrived they ran off towards the train station empty-handed.
Fairfield crime manager detective Inspector Gary Bailey confirmed police were investigating
“We’re keeping an open mind, there are a number of lines of inquiry and that [the Juggalos] is one,” he said.
Juggalos and Juggalettes – who have been classified as a gang in at least six states of America – are fans of hard-core hip-hop and rap groups such as Insane Clown Posse.
Insp Bailey said while masks, including clown masks, had been used by criminals in the past as disguises during a crime, this was the first time he was aware of a group of men walking around the city wearing clown make-up looking for potential targets.
“The make-up makes it a fairly unique thing for us,” he said.
Insp Bailey said the use of chains as a weapon was also “disturbing”.
The woman was not hurt in the attack although she was “obviously shocked”, Insp Bailey said. He said police believed members of the public knew the identity of the “clowns”.
“We’re appealing for information from the public because we believe these persons, if continually allowed to commit criminal offences, could cause serious injuries to members of the public” Insp Bailey said