Target is pulling all of its clown masks in stores nationwide and on its online site "out of sensitivity for the issue at hand," a spokesman said Sunday.

The "issue at hand" is the "crazy clown craze," including threats of violence made on social media.

Joshua Thomas, a Target spokesman, said all clown masks have been pulled from stores and the company is in the process of pulling the masks from its online site. As of Sunday afternoon, there were still five clown masks available at

In early October, Hopkins police arrested a 15-year-old girl from Bloomington who had posted a Kroacky Klown threat on Facebook aimed at residents in Bloomington, Richfield, Minneapolis, Brooklyn Park, St. Paul, Rochester, Apple Valley, Plymouth and Hopkins.

"Should I come to Hopkins and kill?" the post said, according to police. "If you live in the following Minnesota cities, you are in danger."

The girl used her younger sister's cellphone to create the fictitious Facebook account, police said. She told authorities that her intent was to scare her boyfriend, but the situation got out of control and went viral.

Two days later, Bloomington police arrested a 13-year-old boy after a clown-related post "implying violence" against Valley View Middle School.

Last week, it was announced that a St. Francis volunteer soccer coach was fired after he wore a clown mask in a photo at the team's final practice.

School administrators said they had to act for the safety of students, several of whom had previously expressed anxiety about the national "creepy clown craze," where people dressed in clown costumes are spotted walking residential neighborhoods at night, sometimes carrying weapons.

Thomas said he didn't know if there had been an upsurge in sales of clown masks either in stores or online because of the "crazy clown craze."

In Roseville, Mich., near Detroit, two 18-year-old women were arrested Oct. 8 after they allegedly dressed as clowns and jumped out and began to chase and scream at two 14-year-old girls, terrorizing them. The police chief called the women "morons" and "idiots" in a news release. The women have been charged with disorderly conduct.

Pat Pheifer • 612-673-7252