A man wearing a long coat and makeup upset some shoppers at a local department store during the busy holiday shopping season.

On Friday the man was spotted at the Poughkeepsie Target dressed as the Joker, carrying a large hourglass. Some shoppers say they were freaked out by the costumed man who was walking around and staring at customers. Facebook user, Carlissa Stratford, took some photos of the shopper, as well as police officers who she said were following him around the store.

Carlissa Stratford

After being shared on local Facebook groups, the photos have generated concern from people who say that the behavior is unacceptable. The Joker opened in October to huge box office sales and a backlash of criticism about the film's glorification of violence. There were many concerns about shootings and violence at the screenings by fans who have trouble separating fantasy from reality.

There is no indication at all that the man at Target made any threats or was any danger to customers, but some on social media have said that the costumed man's presence was enough to make them fearful. Since being published, the photos have generated comments from local residents who say they've seen the man in other locations around Dutchess County dressed the same way. One Facebook user said that they approached the police about the Joker fan and were told that he most likely has some "mental health issues" but has never caused anyone harm.

Carlissa Stratford

While most of the online commenters were fearful of the costumed man, some of them said that he should just be left alone. A member of the Beacon NY Facebook group, Jessica Williams, said that the negative attention this man was generating was unfair.

My Christmas wish is that people would stop being so judgmental and think about what they can do to help those in need. Is this normal ?... No. Does that make it illegal?... Also no. NYS needs to step up on their mental health programs.

Mike Rütköwski said that he's encountered the man a few times. "Is he creepy? Yes. does he need help? Seems like it. But at the end of the day, he’s just someone going through some (expletive)."

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