While renting an Airbnb is generally a fairly safe endeavor, there are always going to be certain risks involved. Perhaps the house doesn’t quite live up to its photos. Maybe the promised amenities are somewhat underwhelming. Or, there’s always the possibility that your host is incredibly invasive and sleazy.
Derek Starnes and his wife were apparently staying at an Airbnb townhouse in Longboat Key, Florida, when Derek noticed something rather odd: the smoke detector in their bedroom appeared to be housing a pinhole camera — pointed directly at the bed. (Derek works in IT, which helped tip him off to the camera’s presence.)
The couple ultimately called the police, and the local authorities found a total of two hidden video cameras in the Airbnb.
The owner of the Airbnb, 56-year-old Wayne Natt was subsequently arrested on video voyeurism charges, and has been permanently banned by Airbnb.
Airbnb issued a statement on the frightening debacle, as reported by ABC News:
“We are outraged at the reports of what happened. As soon as we were made aware, we permanently banned this individual from our community and fully supported the affected guests,” Benjamin Breit, a spokesperson for Airbnb, told ABC News in a statement.
“Our team has reached out to local law enforcement to aid them with their investigation of this egregious offense, and we hope justice is served. We take privacy issues extremely seriously and have a zero-tolerance policy against this behavior,” Breit added.
If this news has you feeling uneasy about any of your upcoming Airbnb reservation, HelloGiggles points out that you can purchase an RF detector on Amazon “to help determine if there are hidden cameras in (your) vicinity.”
Stay safe, everyone. If the last week/millennium has proven anything, it’s that there are a bunch of creepy people out there.