A Louisiana man has taken squatters’ rights to a whole new level after he was caught inside a couple’s home he attempted to sell for nearly a quarter of a million dollars months ago.
Joseph Guerin was caught having broken into an unoccupied Baton Rouge home earlier this week after the owner’s were alerted to the unwanted man on their property.
Guerin was arrested for unauthorized entrance into the house after he had changed the home’s locks and its utilities were listed under his name, according to WBRZ.
He was released on Monday.
This is the third time the serial squatter has been arrested for unauthorized entrance, after he was apprehended by police in April out of the same Baton Rouge home when the owner’s first found people were illegally residing in the house.
Richard and Kristen Craven inherited the ranch house last year after her parents died and only discovered the unwanted guests during a routine checkup on the property.
“We were checking on it and it was ransacked. Everything was tossed,” Craven told the outlet in April.
The couple had planned to refurbish and resell the white brick, four-bedroom home a couple of months after taking over the property but discovered the house was run down because of Guerin.
They found the squatters had “moved in” with their own furniture, tearing the carpet up and placing in tile flooring and new countertops that aren’t “quality,” and they had painted everything white, including a window to obstruct views into the home.
When they first discovered the visitors, instead of confronting them the Craven’s kept their eye’s on the home, noting different people entering and exiting the home throughout the day and night and said the house wasn’t just being used to sleep in.
“Drug using, drug dealing, I don’t know if he was renting rooms out to females,” Richard Craven said.
The problems escalated all the way to Guerin listing the property online for $225,000.
When they initially reported the problem to authorities, police said it was a civil matter because both the Cravens and squatters were providing documents that showed them as the rightful owners with Guerin allegedly showing off property tax information under his name.
“The police won’t show me what paperwork he has,” Richard Craven said. “I’ve told them whatever he has, has got to be forged.”
In their most recent run-in with Guerin, the Cravens were alerted by a neighbor telling them “you have company over there, that Joey guy is back.”
While Louisiana law does make squatting illegal, a person must peacefully possess the property for 10 uninterrupted years in good faith and by just title, or for 30 years without title or good faith.
“I’m not going to let a criminal to go bust in the house and take control,” Craven said. “It’s just as simple as that. So it’s more than getting control. He’s going. He’s going to go.”