Maine sheriff investigating claim that armed men cut down tree to force neighbor's quarantine

The man was allegedly accosted by armed neighbors who blocked his path.

March 29, 2020, 9:15 PM

Police in Maine are investigating an alleged incident in which armed residents used a tree to block a man's driveway in order to quarantine him and his roommates from the coronavirus.

The man, who is renting the house in the town of Vinalhaven in the Fox Islands, left the house to check on a severed cable line Friday afternoon and discovered that a tree was blocking his path, the Knox County Sheriff’s Office said.

Several people with guns allegedly approached the resident and yelled at him, according to the sheriff’s office.

The man ran back into the home and he and his roommates used a VHF radio, their only means of communication, to contact authorities, the sheriff’s office said.

PHOTO: A boater motors past lobster boats moored off North Haven, Maine, Monday, March 16, 2020.
A boater motors past lobster boats moored off North Haven, Maine, Monday, March 16, 2020.
Robert F. Bukaty/AP

“Several law enforcement entities arrived in the area and found the felled tree but no group of people,” the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post. “It was apparent that the tree had been cut down and dragged into the roadway to block it.”

The town has an order that mandates that anyone who came onto the island recently had to self-isolate. However the man said that he and his two roommates arrived last month, before the cutoff point for the order.

The sheriff’s office said they believe the tree was an attempt to block the exit of those from out of state from leaving the house, and that they will continue to investigate.

“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 office said in a statement.

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