The INSIDER Summary:
- A couple vacationing in Florida say they found a hidden camera in their Airbnb rental.
- The tiny camera was allegedly hidden in a smoke detector in the condo’s bedroom. They also said a “similar device” was found in the living room.
- The unit’s owner has reportedly told investigators that the cameras were installed to record private sex parties and are turned off when guests are present.
- Airbnb has permanently banned the owner and has reached out to local law enforcement to help their investigation.
Derek Starnes told ABC Action News that he and his wife were “freaked out” by the discovery. Starnes, who works in the tech industry, apparently noticed a tiny black hole on the side of a smoke detector in the condo’s bedroom. When he took the detector down, he realized the hole was actually “a camera recording onto an SD card” and quickly called the police.
The owner of the unit, Wayne Natt, 56, has allegedly been arrested and charged with one count of video voyeurism, ABC Action News reported. The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to INSIDER’s request for comment.
— PIX11 News (@PIX11News) October 11, 2017
According to the Sun Sentinel, a “similar device” to the one in the bedroom was found in the condo’s living room.
Natt reportedly told investigators that the cameras were installed to record private sex parties and are turned off when guests are present.
However, police are skeptical about his claims: “If people are consenting to recording sexual activity, why is [the camera] in a hidden smoke alarm?” Longboat Key Lieutenant Bob Bourque told ABC Action News. The cameras can also be turned on and controlled remotely, police told ABC Action News.
“My wife and I are distressed by this situation. I hope more victims will come forward,” Starnes said to ABC Action News.
According to Airbnb representative Benjamin Breit, Airbnb has reached out to local law enforcement to help them with their investigation.
“We are outraged at the reports of what happened,” Breit told INSIDER. “As soon as we were made aware, we permanently banned this individual from our community and fully supported the affected guests.”
“We take privacy issues extremely seriously and have a zero-tolerance policy against this behavior,” Breit continued.
He also pointed INSIDER to Airbnb’s rules about electronic surveillance devices, which clearly state that hosts must “fully disclose” the presence of any security cameras “at or around” their properties. Cameras are also never allowed in bathrooms and bedrooms.
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