Saw How the Land Lies: Maine Neighbors' Dispute Leaves Garage Halved

Whether the back-and-forth will escalate to a court as a civil or criminal matter is unclear

NBC Universal, Inc.

Years as a contractor prepared Gabriel Brawn to use a Sawzall reciprocating saw to cut his neighbor’s garage exactly in half, though he certainly never expected to do it.

Literally, the garage in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine, crossed the line years ago, when it was built atop a property line. Figuratively, another line was crossed shortly before Memorial Day weekend, because of a dispute between Brawn and his neighbor.

In April, Brawn had ordered a land survey that showed half of the garage was actually on his property. Then, over Memorial Day weekend, according to Brawn, the neighbor had asked to retrieve the ashes of a deceased parent from the garage.

Brawn said things inside were smashed and rowdiness ensued, an episode that bothered him so much he sawed down the half of the garage determined to be on his land.

“He gave me a chance to repay him in unkind,” said Brawn in a Friday interview at his house, during which he explained the home’s previous owner was very friendly to him but passed away. A relation who was not as respectful moved in.

“Steve was great, we all loved Steve. He was a corndog but we loved him anyway,” Brawn explained, adding, “he was a really nice guy, we got along perfectly well” and that the person who moved in was “a whole different character.”

While no one was at Brawn’s neighbor's property to ask about the interactions, Dover-Foxcroft police did tell NECN/NBC10 Boston that Brawn has no history with them beyond the garage dispute and that no charges have been filed in that dispute after months where 50% of a garage stood on his neighbor’s lot.

Whether the back-and-forth will escalate to a court as a civil or criminal matter is unclear.

Another surveyor in the area would not confirm or deny he was there to assess the property with the garage. He declined to comment on that or any matter and would not refer NECN/NBC10 Boston to the person who hired him.

Either way, Brawn says that if a court does find him in the wrong, he has all the know-how to put another half-garage back up and stands by his decision to slice it apart in what he estimates was about two hours.

“I don’t really care what happens at this point. My neighborhood’s been quiet for months and that’s the way we like it around here,” he explained. “I wake up every morning and say, 'Wow, that’s really awesome.'”

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