LONGVIEW - A trending twisted joke that is scaring people, landing people in jail and increasing sales at one costume store. Jeremey Stinger is a co-owner of Parties Plus. Since the clown hoax has become a internet sensation his store has sold clown masks by the dozen.

"Clowns being a casual looked at product to one of the most sought out products we have here," Stinger said. "A lot of people are taking advantage of all the fear and everybody is scared of clowns."

The clown epidemic has spread to 17 states with Texas being one of them. The Longview police department confirmed they received one call about a clown spotted on September 29, late at night. When police arrived, no one was found.

Curt Gunz is a professional clown who goes by Professor QB. He said he's aware of the clown hoax and at times, he admits it agitates him.

"It's one of those of things it kinda does bother to folks doing it," Gunz said.

Gunz said he understands that it's a joke, but the people who take it too far ruin it for everybody else.

"Folks wanna trick their friends and be goofy, but you need to deal with that," Gunz said. "That's just no proper behavior."

Jeremy Stinger said it stops being funny when the person who is scared asks to stop and the one pulling the prank doesn't.