Squatters moved out by police, two arrested in unusual situation
BATON ROUGE - Squatters have been moved out of a house less than 24 hours after a 2 On Your Side report. Our cameras were rolling as it happened.
Homeowner Richard Craven is grateful to have the house back, but says it's a lose-lose situation since the house is destroyed.
Baton Rouge Police rolled up on the white brick house Tuesday morning, ordering the people inside to pack up and leave. Several people stuffed bags, baskets, and suitcases into an SUV and left. Two people were arrested.
Richard Craven inherited the house from his in-laws.
"It's a very good day for the Craven family," he said.
Craven planned to fix up the house and sell it but he hasn't had a chance to. For months he's been battling squatters and the law, trying to get back what is his.
"This has been going on for a year now. Every time I take control of the house and fix it up, I look up and I've got squatters back in there," Craven said.
The squatters left behind furniture, clothing, drug paraphernalia, and decorated the house with paint and graffiti on the walls.
On Monday morning, Craven went knocking on the door. He told 2 On Your Side he had had enough and wanted the unwelcome people out of the house. Minutes later the police showed up. The man living in the house, Joseph Guerin, is the one who called them. Police arrested him in April but soon after he bonded out he came back.
Craven has tried everything to get Guerin out of the house. He says Guerin produced documents with forged names on them and that's how he's evaded the law.
In April, 2 On Your Side took a tour of the house. Most of the house had been covered in paint - and it wasn't a professional job. Original wooden furniture belonging to Craven's in-laws has been painted black, the kitchen and kitchen appliances painted a matte off-white. The windows had been painted black, too. Parts of the house are full of discarded clothing, trash, and other items.
After decorating, Guerin put the house up for sale and Craven feared he would try to do it again.
Tuesday morning, Guerin was arrested for simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling. Jennifer Chapman was arrested for an outstanding warrant for unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling. The pair have a history of doing this and Craven has spent many days trying to get it resolved.
"If it wasn't for 2 On Your Side there's no telling how long this would have gone on. We would have had more victims," Craven said.
The people are gone now but the house is in shambles. Craven says police found blank checks from his in-laws on the kitchen table and a bag full of documents.
"I'm really happy to resolve this, but there's just no winners, everybody loses," Craven said.
Now with full control of the house, Craven is looking to sell the property "as is."
Guerin is being held without bond.
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