Ask Someone Else's Mom by Susan Writer

Neighbor Doesn't Return Toys that Go Over His Fence

Neighbor Doesn't Return Toys that Go Over His Fence

DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: I’m at home with our kids, which means most days their friends congregate at our house. Our yard is separated from our neighbor’s by a chain-link fence. More than once, one of the kids’ balls or other tossing toys have gone over the fence into the neighbor’s yard. When one of the kids goes over to his front door and asks for the toy back, our neighbor laughs and says something stupid like, “Finders-keepers.” I hate it, but put up with it better if it’s one of our own kids’ toys, but it’s also happened with their friends’ toys and we have to tell their parents we can’t get their kids’ toys back. Even when we adults have tried, we get the same treatment as the kids.

What can we do to get this man to give the stuff back? Our kids keep begging to hop the fence when he’s out, but we’ve absolutely nixed that, which gets them even angrier, since we can see everything just lying there. --- JUST WANT THE TOYS BACK

DEAR JUST WANT THE TOYS BACK: Legally, he’s likely in the right, even if he’s being a creep. You could try contacting the non-emergency or community service police to see if they can help. An HOA, if available, might also work as a mediator; but since direct, hopefully rational, appeal hasn’t worked yet, you might just want to have your kids play games that don’t involve tossing anything above the fence level when they’re in your back yard.

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