Tennessee Woman Arrested After Breaking In, Cleansing Home With Sage

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A woman in West Tennessee is facing charges after police found her squatting inside another family's newly-renovated home.

Laquita Leatherwood was preparing to move into her family's new fully-furnished home in Shelby County when she discovered that the locks had been changed and a stranger already living inside the residence, per WKRN.

"I went there to let a cleaning crew in, and I kept saying my key isn't working," she said.

As she tried to figure out what was a happening, a woman she didn't know came outside to say that she owned the home. Her car was even parked in the garage.

"She said her uncle left her the house," said Leatherwood. "I was already on the phone with the police."

Law enforcement officers were called to the scene, where the woman, 55-year-old Pamela Hopkins, said the residence was left to her in her late uncle's will and she got the keys from the man who had painted the house. When she couldn't produce any evidence or paperwork proving that fact, she was taken into custody.

Neighbors surrounding the home didn't realize what was going on and were shocked to see police arrive on the street.

"I think that's pretty messed up that somebody can take your house, but this is kind of the world we live in today," said neighbor Bryant Boone. "If someone feels like they can take advantage of you, they will."

Hopkins reportedly lived in the home for several days, cleaning up after construction crews and even cleansing the home with sage, Leatherwood said.

"Oh, she cleaned up so good. It didn't make any sense," she said. "She didn't steal anything. She was like, 'it's my house.'"

Hopkins was charged with burglary of a building.

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