Botwood bogeyman likely a hoax, RCMP say

Police are trying to calm fears of a caped marauder in a central Newfoundland town, saying it is likely a prank that has taken on a life of its own.

RCMP said officers have been fielding calls from the Botwood area for about a week about someone dressed in a black cape and mask, who has reportedly been skulking in backyards and leaping out from bushes to scare people.

"We feel that this is most likely a hoax or something that started off as a prank or a game and has probably escalated into something that it was not intended to be," Cpl. Mike Fewer told CBC News.

He said young people have also been venting their fears through social media, which has helped propel the story.

While Fewer said police do not think there's a threat, they do want to talk to the person or people behind it.

"We would like to be able to talk to them and just find out what was going on," he said.

"Then we can put an end to all these rumours that are circulating through the local area."

Others have suggested the masked person be tracked down and attacked, but Fewer is warning people against it.

He said someone could be charged with mischief or trespassing.

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