Riverside family finally moves into dream home after 15-month standoff with squatter

After 15 long months of soaring legal bills and a thousand tears, Tracie Albert finally walked through the front door of her new home on Skyridge Drive in Riverside.

She walked through the house expressing a sense of disbelief. The Alberts closed escrow in January 2020. But once escrow ended — their nightmare began. The seller refused to allow the couple into their hilltop home. The former seller had turned into a squatter.

Tracie and Myles Albert tried everything humanly possible to get the squatting family out. But they were advised they had no recourse; they had to evict the sellers-turned-squatters to legally gain access to their property.

So they began legal proceedings. And then COVID-19 protocols hit and evictions literally stopped. The Albert family says no governmental agency would help them. The husband and wife had spent their entire life savings on the 4,000 square foot home — and they couldn’t move in.

Last October, Tracie and some friends hired a locksmith and attempted to get into the home. The squatters, identified in court documents as Sam Boktor and wife Miriam Khalil, came to the door.

Cell phone video shared to FOX 11 shows a screaming Boktor wielding a tire iron and a visibly upset Tracie Albert eventually retreating. The sellers called the sheriff's deputies. A sheriff's deputy told Tracie she had to leave, which she did.

So finally in exasperation, real estate agent Chris Taylor called FOX 11. My colleague Gina Silva did a story a couple of weeks ago. And since then, public support began pouring in favor of the Alberts. The heat was on the squatters.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Couple buys Riverside dream home, but seller refuses to move out in eviction moratorium loophole

Neighbors were closely watching the two-story home. And when they noticed the squatting family loading up a vehicle with luggage, they notified Tracie and Myles.

On Friday, FOX 11 was the only camera there as a locksmith used bolt cutters to gain access to the home. We entered with Tracie. 

The house was mostly empty, a little messy; some furniture left behind wrapped in plastic wrap. Tracie Albert walked us through the spacious home with lovely views. She teared up several times.

When I asked her how it felt to finally be inside her "dream home," she said she and her husband had discussed selling the property. The last 15 months had tarnished their love of the property.

For now, additional security will patrol. And the Albert Family will clean up the property and change the locks. 

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