HOLLIS — When Stephanie Hamlin saw him Tuesday evening, she was washing dishes at her kitchen sink, gazing out the window.

Angela Hunt heard about him from her children, who called her in a panic when he strolled by their house.

Karmen LePage didn’t believe it until she saw him for herself.

Walking down Waterboro Road was a man wearing a white and red clown mask. Not just any clown. A creepy clown, with a massive blade swinging by his side where his left arm should have been.

“He had what I thought was a meat cleaver,” said Hamlin, 34. “It was as if he was in a trance.”

Around 6 p.m. Tuesday, calls poured into the police department reporting the armed, masked man.

Police located Corey Berry, 31, of Hollis, who was highly intoxicated and had duct-taped the machete to the stump of his amputated left arm, with the blade dangling from his empty shirt sleave.

Maine State Police Trooper Adam Schmidt said Berry fled into the woods, but was apprehended around 7 p.m., roughly an hour after officials were dispatched, and Berry was cooperative.

Police display a clown mask and a machete that they say were worn by Corey Berry, of Hollis. Photo courtesy Maine State Police via Associated Press

“He put down the machete when we instructed him to do so,” Schmidt said.

Berry told police his goal was to prank a family friend who has children and lives up the road.

“I asked ‘How old are the other man’s children?’ and he said less than 7 years old,” Schmidt said.

Police charged Berry with criminal threatening, defined in Maine law as intentionally or knowingly placing another person in fear of imminent bodily injury.

Berry was booked at York County Jail in Alfred, and was released on $200 bail.

Berry pleaded guilty in 2012 to a misdemeanor charge of operating under the influence. He was fined $500 and his license was suspended.

Corey Berry, 31, of Hollis, was charged with criminal threatening after police said he was found strolling down a street wearing a clown mask with a machete taped to his amputated arm. Photo courtesy Maine State Police via Associated Press

Residents who saw Berry in his costume said the sight of him was disturbing, and they usually enjoy the less-hectic pace of rural York County.

Many were in disbelief, including LePage, who said she was resting on her couch when her daughter ran into the room, excited.

Her daughter told her there was a clown outside carrying what looked like a butcher knife.

But LePage barely budged. “I though it was a joke,” said LePage, 55. “I thought she’s being funny. I said, ‘go take a picture of him.’ ”

When her daughter came back with photographic proof, LePage alerted the neighbors, warning a few neighborhood children not to bike or rollerblade in the man’s direction.

“When I called the cops I said, ‘I have a gun, I want to let you know … if he comes back this way or through my woods, I’m going to use it,” LePage said.

Luckily for her, she didn’t have to – police had already been deluged with calls about the creepy clown.

Hamlin didn’t even have to call 911.

She went outside and flagged down a state trooper, who had already been dispatched to the area after someone else spotted the clown walking toward Waterboro.

The reaction among most people who saw him was similar.

“I hate clowns,” Hamlin said. “I’m scared of clowns.”

Hunt said her daughter called police, and by the time she arrived home, officers were already taking witness statements.

Hunt’s son, Mark Bureau, 17, jumped into a car along with his sister and gave chase, taking pictures and video of the ghoulish figure.

“I know there’s kids around here, and they saw him walking by and that probably freaked the kids out a lot,” Bureau said. “He shouldn’t be playin’ around like that.”

At Berry’s home nearby on Tanglewood Drive in Hollis, his next-door neighbor Bob Rousseau said Berry had recently gone through a difficult break-up, and had at least one small child. Berry was also known around the neighborhood as a hard worker who recycled scrap metal for money.

“I’ve never had a problem with him,” said Rousseau, 82. “Actually he’s a pretty good neighbor. I’ve given him an old trailer I found out back. He’s a hard worker, so I doubt he finds time to drink and act foolish.”

No one answered the door at Berry’s tan mobile home Wednesday, where scrap oil tanks sat in the driveway and a plastic castle and swing-set sat in the front yard.

Back on Waterboro Road, LePage said Berry was lucky he was only arrested. He could have been shot by any her neighbors, who all own firearms.

“He’s not funny,” she said. “He needs to think about what he did and what the consequences could have been. We live in the woods, you think we don’t have guns? He’s damn lucky.”

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MattByrnePPH

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