A Maine sheriff is looking for answers after an out-of-town renter says neighbors cut down a tree to block his driveway in an effort to keep him quarantined, ABC News reports. When the man tried to walk outside, he was allegedly accosted by neighbors carrying guns.
The unidentified man is renting a house in Vinalhaven in the picturesque Fox Islands. Last Friday afternoon, he says that he went outside to check on a severed cable line, only to find that a felled tree was blocking his path.
In a Facebook post that has since been deleted, Knox County Sheriff Tim Carroll said that he believes it had been done deliberately.
“Several law enforcement entities arrived in the area and found the felled tree… It was apparent that the tree had been cut down and dragged into the roadway to block it,” he said.
The man also claims that several armed neighbors pointed guns at him and told him to get back into the house.
He and his roommate notified police, using a marine radio, the only means of communication they had available to them, to notify the Coast Guard, who in turn notified local police. He also used a drone equipped with a camera to keep an eye on the crowd, according to The Portland Press-Herald. However, by the time police arrived, the crowd had dispersed.
The island community is currently mandating that people from out of town self-isolate to stem the spread of the coronavirus. However, the man says that he and his two roommates had been in town for a month before the order went into place.
In a statement, the sheriff’s office noted that private citizens cannot impede a person’s movement, whether that person is from out of town or not.
“Whether someone is a Maine resident or not, they have the right to free movement and anyone who infringes upon that free movement is potentially violating the law,” the agency said.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, across the country, towns like Vinalhaven — communities that attract tourists and seasonal residents — are making it clear that people from out of town, fleeing cities to try to escape the coronavirus pandemic, are not welcome there.
Some residents are, of course, concerned about out-of-towners bringing the coronavirus with them. Others point out that resources in the communities are already strained, and there won’t be enough to handle visitors.
Some such communities, like Massachusetts’ Martha’s Vineyard, have closed themselves up to everyone except full-time residents.