After renting out an Airbnb in Florida, a couple from Indiana discovered a camera disguised as one of the smoke detectors in the master bedroom.
According to ABC News affiliate, WTFS, the couple were renting a home on Longboat Key when noticed something weird about the smoke detectors pointing right at the bed.
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Derek Starnes and his wife told the news channel they were freaked out over what happened. Starnes, who works in tech, noticed a black hole on the side of the smoke detector. Upon taking it down, he realized the black hole was actually a camera recording onto an SD card. This invasion of privacy prompted him to call the police.
“We seized a lot of computer storage data devices, hard drives, computers, laptops SD cards anything that would store data,” Lt. Bob Bourque told WTFS. “We don’t know if there are local victims someone who may have been dating him or a companion that doesn’t realize they are being videotaped, and then we have the other side of who he rented to through Airbnb.”
Authorities report that Wayne Natt, 56, who has been active on the Airbnb service for years, was arrested and charged with one count of video voyeurism. Starnes says Natt’s home had more than 40 reviews on the home renting service.
“My wife and I are distressed by this situation. I hope more victims will come forward,” Starnes said of the home located at 623 Cedars Court in Longboat Key.
Starnes shared a photograph he took of the device that shows him and his wife staring up at the camera, and reveals he knows the video captured him walking through the bedroom naked.
Following Natt’s arrest, police say he gave a statement with a lawyer present declaring that “everyone gave him consent to be filmed” and that he admitted there were “dozens of videos of people engaged in sex parties he hosted at the home.”
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“He says that everyone videoed had knowledge he was videoing them,” Bourque said. “What we said to that was… if people are consenting to recording sexual activity why is it hidden in a smoke alarm? He said it was for recording sexual activity.”
Bourque said Natt’s reason for hiding it in the ceiling “was it gave him a better angle.”
WFTS reached out to Airbnb for comment, with a representative telling the channel they were “outraged” of what happened.
“As soon as we were made aware, we permanently banned this individual from our community and fully supported the affected guests,” the spokesperson said. “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.”
Police are urging anyone who rented from Natt on Airbnb or was inside his condominium to contact them.
Photo credit: Twitter / @KTLA