A Louisiana man is battling to retake control of his home after serial squatters moved in twice – and put the property on the market.
Richard Craven and his wife Kristen inherited the four bedroom, 3,200-square-foot ranch style house in Baton Rouge in 2022.
It sat empty for several months, but then Joseph Guerin and Jennifer Chapman moved in.
The pair were evicted by police in April this year but were released on September 4 – and moved back in on September 5.
‘The neighbor next door, who has been there for a lot of years – we’ve been there since 84 – she texted me this morning,’ said Craven, speaking to KBRZ.
‘And she said: ‘You’ve got company over there. That Joey guy is back.’
Richard Craven (left) inherited the house last year: Joseph Guerin, a serial squatter, moved in and was arrested in April. He was released from prison on Monday, and moved back in to Craven’s home on Tuesday
Craven inherited this white four-bedroom brick house, and was intending to sell it
Craven has since discovered that, when Guerin was released from prison, he gave the address of Craven’s house as his own.
Furthermore, Guerin has filed paperwork tying him to the property, so police told Craven they were unable to assist, saying it was a civil dispute about ownership.
‘The police won’t show me what paperwork he has,’ said Craven.
‘I’ve told them whatever he has, has got to be forged.
‘I’m not going to let a criminal to go bust in the house and take control. It’s just as simple as that. So it’s more than getting control. He’s going. He’s going to go.’
The Cravens first encountered Guerin several months after inheriting the house, and drove past and noticed a dumpster in the driveway.
‘We were checking on it and it was ransacked. Everything was tossed,’ said Craven.
‘We didn’t confront him, we were just watching and then I noticed all the traffic.’
Guerin had changed the locks and put the utilities in his name.
He put the property on the market for $225,000, described as a ‘magnificent home’ with plenty of space for a large family and a pool to ‘beat the heat.’
The property was on the market for a day before Craven noticed and had it taken down. The listing remains online, but it is marked as ‘off market’.
Guerin and Chapman were arrested for unauthorized entry, and Craven discovered that Guerin was arrested on similar charges last year and was out on a $5,000 bond.
Guerin had altered the home, painting over wood with solid matte black, and even painting a window black.
The carpet had been taken up, and tile flooring and new countertops installed.
Some areas were painted white, and in one room graffiti covered the walls.
One of the upstairs bathrooms was destroyed, and there are holes in the walls and missing parts of the ceiling.
Craven said the work that Guerin had done was of poor quality, and needed to be ripped out and started again.
‘The house did need a little work but now it needs everything,’ Craven said.
Murphy J. Paul, Jr, chief of Baton Rouge police, has not commented. The police told Craven they could not intervene in a civil dispute, because Guerin had his name on some of the utilities
Craven also found drug paraphernalia and empty liquor bottles left behind, he told KBRZ.
‘Drug using, drug dealing, I don’t know if he was renting rooms out to females,’ Craven said.
On September 4, Guerin was released from prison.
And on September 5, he was back in the house.
‘He got in there,’ said Craven.
‘He saw it was empty, and he decided he’s going to sell it for cash money. And he’s just about accomplished that.’
With Baton Rouge police unwilling to get involved, Craven is not sure what his next steps will be – but he is adamant that Guerin must move out.
Murphy J. Paul, Jr, chief of Baton Rouge police, has not responded to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.