A group of angry neighbors decided to take action when they believed somebody in their neighborhood had contracted COVID-19. The man, who is from New Jersey but has been renting a home with two other people in Vinalhaven, a small town on the Fox Islands in Knox County, Maine, went outside to see why his cable had gone out when he noticed a giant tree blocking his driveway.
When he went out to confront his neighbors, he noticed they were armed and he began to fear for his life. The man went back inside and used VHF radio to contact the Coast Guard. He then used a drone to monitor the crowd, but by the time the police arrived, the group had dispersed.
Officials believe the group targeted the man because he had a license plate from New Jersey, which has seen a large increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in recent days. None of the men living in the home were showing symptoms of COVID-19 and they have all been on the island for the past month while working a construction job.
“We are concerned that some believe that anyone from out of the state is potentially infected and needs to be quarantined,” the Knox County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “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.”
Authorities did not say if they were going to charge anybody for cutting down the tree or threatening their neighbor.