Real Estate

Squatter calls police on homeowner, attempts to sell house on forged paperwork

A Louisiana couple’s dream of revamping a family-inherited property turned into a nightmare ordeal as squatters took over their cherished white brick home and transformed it into a den of chaos.

Richard and Kristen Craven were preparing the house, at 10687 Goodwood Boulevard in Baton Rouge, for sale in March after inheriting it from Richard’s in-laws who had passed away.

However, their plans were disrupted when squatters seized the property, leaving the couple dumbfounded.

“It was ransacked. Everything was tossed,” Richard told local WBRZ.

As the couple attempted to reclaim their property, they found a dumpster in the driveway because someone had taken it upon themselves to renovate the house.

This unnerved Craven, prompting him to closely monitor the peculiar activities unfolding.

“We didn’t confront him, we were just watching and then I noticed all the traffic,” he said, adding that he observed people coming and going from his property at all hours.

Richard Craven surveying his property.
The kitchen when it was briefly illegally listed.
Baton Rouge MLS
One of the messy bedrooms.
Baton Rouge MLS

Their attempts to involve the authorities hit a roadblock when responding officers deemed it a civil matter.

Both parties provided documents asserting their ownership claims, with the squatters even presenting allegedly forged paperwork suggesting they paid property taxes.

This legal limbo prolonged the Cravens’ agony as they watched their property morph into something unrecognizable.

In an audacious move, the squatters listed the house for sale at $225,000, advertising it as a “magnificent home” despite its dire state, before Craven intervened and had the listing removed.

After the arrest of unauthorized occupants, Joseph Guerin and Jennifer Chapman, Craven finally gained access to the interior and discovered a scene of utter devastation.

Joseph Guerin was arrested back in May before being released on bond later where he later returned to the house.
Another bedroom.
Baton Rouge MLS
The bedroom was captured on a WBRZ camera.

The squatters had reportedly made substantial modifications, from repainting furniture and walls to vandalizing parts of the house with graffiti.

Drug paraphernalia, demolished rooms and signs of potential illicit activities painted a disturbing picture of the home’s desecration.

But the saga was not over.

After Guerin was released from jail on a $5,000 bond, he returned to the home and changed the locks.

Confusion over paperwork and alleged forged documents allowed Guerin to repeatedly slip through the cracks of the law, leaving the Cravens grappling for control of their own property.

The living area.
Baton Rouge MLS
The dining area.
Baton Rouge MLS
The squatter changed the locks on the home.

“He’s like Teflon Don,” Craven lamented, frustrated by Guerin’s slippery escape from justice.

The situation escalated further as neighboring properties faced similar disruptions.

Instances of attempted tampering with water meters and missing equipment added to the turmoil, prompting wearied neighbors to voice their complaints about the constant disturbances.

Amidst the chaos, Craven reluctantly contemplated letting the house slip into foreclosure, driven to this extreme due to the persistent challenges in reclaiming control.

Guerin is scheduled to appear for a motion hearing next week on the matter.