It's the all-time "Home Sweet Home" story, as Jennifer Merin reclaims the house allegedly stolen from her by a squatter. It is now a total wreck.
Merin showed INSIDE EDITION's Les Trent a spot on her floor and mentioned, "This, you can see on the floor, there is a marking. That is the base of a table that has been here since the family moved in."
Trent asked, "Where's the table now?"
"It's gone," she said.
Lawmen drilled through the lock to allow Merin into her home on Monday, where the accused squatters lived for at least six months. It is a bittersweet experience for homeowner Merin, who says countless family heirlooms are missing.
She said, "I am really horrified!
The nightmare began for the 71-year-old last summer when she tried to get into her house and found the locks had been changed!
When she arrived, she banged on the door and said, "Open the door! We know you're in there, open the door! This is my house! You're not going to get away with this! Open the door!"
How could such a thing happen?
The humble brick house in Queens, New York, has been in her family since 1931. She lives in Manhattan and uses it as a secondary home. But she knew something was wrong when she noticed a spike in her water bill last May.
Lo and behold, a check of the city registry showed that without her knowledge, the house had been deeded to a convicted burglar named Darrell Beatty. He allegedly forged the deed, and then moved in with his two sons and a dog.
Beatty was arrested last month and charged with grand larceny.
INSIDE EDITION asked Beatty, "Do you feel guilty for what you've done?"
He proclaimed, "I didn't do anything!"
But get this, Beatty posted his bail and moved right back into the house. Neighbors say he left the house Sunday night, just before his eviction.
So, Jennifer Merin gets her beloved house back but it'll take some tender loving care to get it back to the way it was.
A tearful Merin told Trent, "I don't even know where to begin."