A thin man dressed as a clown approached a 14-year-old Lakeview high school student from behind and displayed a large kitchen knife on Wednesday afternoon, Nassau police said.

The student had left Malverne High School at about 3:05 p.m. and walked through an opening in a fence where Clinton Avenue ends, to reach a grassy alleyway that leads to Jefferson Avenue.

The suspect, about 6 feet tall, wore a purple clown costume, a white mask and a red wig, the police said.

After running to Jefferson Avenue and then onto Langdon Boulevard, the student noticed the clown had disappeared. The student was not injured.

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Detectives are investigating the case as an instance of menacing. It is similar to a recent pattern of threatening clown sightings around the nation and on Long Island.

Anyone with information about the incident should call Crime Stoppers at 800-244-TIPS. All callers will remain anonymous.