SAN JUAN BAUTISTA, Calif. (FOX 13) - A machete-toting roadside clown scared several drivers in California on Wednesday, but when deputies showed up, they couldn’t arrest him.
Deputies in Monterey County, California were called to the side of Highway 101 north of Salinas after passing motorists called 911 to report a man dressed as a clown, holding a seemingly bloody machete.
TV station KSBW reported that the 6-foot-2, 230-pound man was apparently pretending to hitchhike – machete and all.
When deputies arrived – with guns drawn – they say they found Larry Tovey of nearby Gilroy. Photos shared by the sheriff’s office, which are now going viral, showed the man wearing red and white makeup on his face and dressed in a colorful clown suit.
But after talking with him, they had to send him on his way because no one specifically reported being personally threatened.
“The deputies discovered Larry hadn't broken any laws,” the sheriff’s office explained, “and the red on the machete, who some thought might be blood, was cotton with red dye.”
The sheriff’s office says they are still investigating, but for now, they are calling it a case of poor judgment.
"He did not meet the requirements for mental health commitment," they added.