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Host ‘set up video camera’ in Airbnb apartment

October 17, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

While enjoying their newly rented Airbnb unit, a married couple suddenly realised that the smoke detector positioned directly over their bed was in fact a camera.

The husband, Derek Starnes by name, phoned police immediately after making the discovery. His complaint led to the arrest of Airbnb host Wayne Natt, 56, who has been charged with video voyeurism.

Starnes works in technology and recognised the device immediately, though it was small and positioned in a hole immediately next to the smoke detector in the Florida unit. He told WFTS-TV, an ABC-affiliated television channel in Florida, that both he and his wife were “distressed” by the discovery.

Wayne Natt. Photo issued by police in Longboat Key, Florida

Police subsequently seized computer storage data devices, hard drives, computers, laptops and SD cards. The unit is said to have had more than 40 online reviews. WFTS reported it was listed by Airbnb for two years.

Natt allegedly told authorities the cameras were installed to record sex parties he hosted at the home, according to the New York Daily News. The cameras weren’t recording while the unit was rented out via Airbnb, he is said to have told police.

Police are not convinced.

WFTS quoted an Airbnb statement on the matter:

“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. Our team has reached out to local law enforcement to aid them with their investigation of this egregious offence and we hope justice is served. We take privacy issues extremely seriously and have a zero-tolerance policy against this behaviour.”

Police are seeking other travellers who may have rented the same apartment.

Written by Peter Needham

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