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Clown mask, explosives used in bank heist

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Clowns and explosives.

It's sounds like something straight out of a movie, but according to police, that's what terrified tellers at Bank Tennessee were confronted by as the bank was opening a little after 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Police told WREG's Shay Arthur, the duo robbed the bank on Poplar Avenue and got away with an undisclosed amount of cash.

No one was hurt.

We caught up with Michael Lauder who was shopping nearby.

"It's kinda disconcerting to see this, but I guess crime can happen anywhere," he said.

Lauder was alarmed to hear of another clown report.

"When I was a kid clowns were something everyone kinda accepted. Now they've got this whole big persona going on. Now they're scaring kids near schools and what have you now this is pretty scary."

The Tennessee Highway Patrol has previously warned people after clown sightings but said cases like this robbery is a lesson for potential copycat pranksters.

"Now is not the time. This is the time where you have people in fear and you have people pulling these pranks that can mean no harm and can get you seriously hurt," said Sgt. Chris Richardson.

Recent reports seemed to have started in South Carolina but have grown to states all over the south.

In Kentucky, a man was arrested for causing "public alarm" for allegedly creeping in the woods.

On Tuesday, a school was put on lockdown in Dyersburg after a clown sighting.

Sgt. Richardson said most of the reports are spurred by social media- people think they see something and make up a story.

"Second thing that's there though because of the story you got your stalker clowns. These are the pranksters that set out and they just try to scare people."

There have also been reports of clowns lingering in the woods, possibly targeting children.

"We haven't heard of anything yet and those are your actual child predators, now of course a child predator can dress not only as a clown but they can be in a business suit or blue jeans or whatever so parents just have to be extra vigilant," said Sgt. Richardson.

Barry Lincoln owns Mr. Lincoln's Costume Shoppe in Midtown.

He said he hasn't sold any clown costumes recently and called all the reports a phase.

"I've had a few people come in and say have you heard about the clowns still?"

But phase or not, the THP said they have to take threats seriously.

If you know anything about this robbery at Bank Tennessee, give police a call.