Clown Pranksters Arrested in Centerville

clownCENTERVILLE – The plan was to prank a stranger by dressing as a scary clown and jumping out of a big box on the unsuspecting person’s doorstep. The reaction would be recorded and posted on YouTube.

But an off-duty police officer spoiled that plan when at about 5:50 p.m., he noticed two men running through his back yard,  to the home of his next door neighbor.

The neighborhood is off Shoot Flying Hill Road in Centerville.

One of the men was wearing all black and and carrying a large box. The other was wearing a clown mask that included fake blood and scars.

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The off-duty officer immediately called police and followed the men. The officer’s wife, meanwhile, went to the neighbor’s house to alert her about the men.

The officer was concerned that the men were planning a home invasion. He watched as they placed the box on the neighbor’s front stoop. One man got into the box and the other hid in the bushes nearby.

When he confronted them, he found out the men had picked the house randomly and were planning to scare the homeowner in order to record the reaction for a video.

Jonathan Gebbia, 21, of Hyannis, who was the one hiding in the bushes, and Nicholas Court, 25 of Dennisport, who was in the clown mask, were arrested and both charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct.

Gebbia, who was planning to record the victim’s reaction with a video camera, is 6 feet tall and 380 pounds, police said. Court, who was dressed as the clowlw is 5’8 and 120 pounds.

They were released on bail last night and arraigned this morning.

The victim, a 34-year-old woman was house sitting at her parents home, which, almost one year to the day ago, had been robbed while they were out of town.

Police officers asked the men what they would have done if the person who answered the door had been elderly and had a heart attack. “They said they never thought of that,” said Barnstable Police Sergeant Sean Sweeney.