SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. (WREG) — Days before moving into a newly renovated and furnished house, a Tennessee woman says she discovered a stranger had already moved into the home.

“I went there to let a cleaning crew in, and I kept saying my key isn’t working,” said homeowner Laquita Leatherwood.

Pamela Hopkins (Photo provided by Shelby County Jail)

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


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Leatherwood said a woman she had never met had changed the locks at the Shelby County house and parked her car in the garage. She said the woman came outside and told her she owned the home.

Sheriff’s deputies took Pamela Hopkins, 55, into custody. They said she told them her uncle had left the house to her in his will but could not provide any paperwork to prove the home belonged to her.

They said Hopkins also told her a man who was painting the house gave her the keys, and she had moved in a few days ago.

(Credit: Melissa Moon/WREG)

Leatherwood said she had no idea how she got the key.

“If my kids or husband had been with me, it could have been bad. My husband has a license to carry,” said Leatherwood.

(Credit: Melissa Moon/WREG)

Leatherwood said Hopkins used sage to cleanse the house and cleaned up after the construction workers.

“Oh, she cleaned up so good. It didn’t make any sense,” said Leatherwood. “She didn’t steal anything. She was like, ‘It’s my house.'”

Neighbors saw the deputies on their street but didn’t initially know what was happening.

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

Hopkins is charged with burglary of a building. She was released on her own recognizance.