Harbor View Mayor Rick Brink and his neighbor Jon King don’t see eye to eye.
What has come between the two Harbor View residents was a granite rock, about twice as large as a basketball.
Except it’s not there anymore.
The “decorative landscaping (rock)” was stolen March 14 from the corner of an East Harbor View Drive property where Mayor Brink lives, according to a theft report he filed two days later with the Lucas County Sheriff’s Office. That corner is on the side of the house where Mr. King, 19, lives, with the property line half a foot from the house.
The rock is valued at $40, according to the report. It was bought about eight years ago from Select Stone Co. LLC, 9645 Airport Hwy. in Springfield Township, the mayor said.
Harbor View, Ohio’s smallest village, is located between Oregon and Lake Erie. A total of 123 people lived there in 2010, according to the U.S. Census, which estimated its population in 2014 at 100.
“The victim told deputies someone stole his landscaping artifact (rock),” deputies wrote in the report. “... He thinks that his neighbor took it due to an ongoing feud that he is having with him. He says that there has been [a] physical threat in the past made against him.”
Mayor Brink, 49, told The Blade he and his girlfriend saw Mr. King pick up the stone, carry it across the street, and throw it into an empty lot on three occasions during the past month. Each time, the mayor retrieved the rock and put it back, he said.
When the mayor did not see the rock March 14, he went over to Mr. King’s residence and “told him he needs to replace the rock,” at which time Mr. King told him to leave.
Mr. King told The Blade he has never touched or moved the stone and denied being involved in a feud with the mayor or having ever threatened him. He said he moved into the house about two months ago and had since had just one run-in with the mayor when the latter showed up on his doorstep March 14.
“He came over and started yelling,” Mr. King said of the mayor. “[He was] yelling just about everything. I just told him to get off my doorstep.”
When asked, Mr. King mentioned that the mayor accused him of taking the stone. Mr. King also said that he does not have a job and that he is a 2014 Clay High School graduate.
A sheriff deputy who took the incident report wrote in it that he told the mayor “not to go there anymore” and “if there is a problem to call police.”
“There is no proof at this time that the neighbor took the rock,” the report said.
Mayor Brink, who was elected mayor earlier this year, agreed but said he had a village marshal talk to Mr. King about replacing the rock.
Suzanne Barker, a board member of the Ohio Mediation Association and senior case coordinator and volunteer coordinator at Community Mediation Services of Central Ohio, a not-for-profit mediation services provider, said she never heard about a neighbors’ dispute over a stolen landscaping stone.
“People are usually very conflict-averse and [in a potential neighbors dispute case] most people would find an attorney and ask for advice,” Ms. Barker said. “My advice is to go and talk to your neighbor first. But do it when you are calm. If someone comes to you yelling and screaming, you don’t even hear what they are saying. You become defensive and get into a fight-or-flight mode.”
About 42 percent of Americans say they have been involved in a dispute with their neighbors, according to a recent survey by FindLaw.com, a legal information website. Nearly half of them, 49 percent, say they have discussed the issue with their neighbor. Also, 27 percent, or about one in four, say they have called the police.
Neither Mr. Brink nor Mr. King are listed as the owners of the houses where they live, according to Lucas County records. Mr. Brink said the listed owner of the house he lives in is his girlfriend; Mr. King said he lives in his parents’ house.