Couple find hidden camera in corner of their Airbnb
We are consistently told that we are being watched at all times. If you live in a city, no matter where you are, the likelihood is that you are being surveyed 24/7 through the likes of card machines, CCTV and your mobile phone's GPS. However, if there's one place you want to feel like you have some privacy, it's in your bedroom. Your bedroom is where you tend to lounge around naked, have sex and just generally be at your most relaxed, so the idea that someone might be observing your behaviour is just downright freaky.
However, for one Indiana couple who rented a Florida apartment through Airbnb, this is exactly what happened.
Derek Starnes and his wife checked into a listing that was being rented out by Wayne Natt, 56, at Cedars Court condo in Longboat Key, Florida. While at first the apartment seemed completely fine, the couple later noticed a black hole in the smoke detector in the master bedroom, and what they found left them extremely "distressed by this situation".
When Starnes cracked open the smoke detector, he was shocked to find a camera and microphone inside of it. After checking around the apartment, the couple found another smoke detector/camera in the living room.
Natt is alleged to have placed the secret cameras in smoke detectors in order to film his guests and according to the police, he has since been arrested and charged with video voyeurism.
Natt, who resides in the apartment when there aren't any guests staying, claims that he uses the cameras for his personal use, filming his own private sex parties and that any individual who attends the party has given their consent to be videotaped.
Longboat Key Police Lt. Robert Bourque has spoken to the press regarding the incident, saying that they have questioned Natt regarding the cameras.
"We did have the opportunity to analyze what was on the SD card and there are a couple of different people on them.
"Our question is, if people are aware the cameras are there, why are they hidden in smoke alarms? And his answer was – for a better angle.
"Who knows what it’s being used for, so it’s very concerning. I suspect there are other victims, it’s just a matter of identifying them or not."
Benjamin Breit, a representative for Airbnb said that the company was outraged by the incident and said that they had instantly "permanently banned" Natt once they heard about the story.
"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 offense and we hope justice is served.
"We take privacy issues extremely seriously and have a zero-tolerance policy against this behavior."
Airbnb's policy regarding surveillance devices says:
"We require hosts to disclose all surveillance devices in their listings, and we prohibit any surveillance devices in certain private spaces (such as bedrooms and bathrooms) regardless of whether they’ve been disclosed."
Natt has been released on bail and it remains to see if more victims will come forward after seeing the news.
It must be horrible to discover that you've been watched at your most intimate and private and no doubt Natt deserves to have the book thrown at him for his actions.