Two people said they are upset after discovering a hidden camera pointed at the bed in a room they rented from the popular site Airbnb. “My wife and I are distressed by this situation. I hope more victims will come forward,” Derek Starnes told ABC News affiliate WFTS-TV of Tampa, Florida, after he said he found a camera hidden in the smoke detector of a room he rented through Airbnb on Longboat Key, just south of Tampa Bay.
Starnes said he was able to notice the obscured pinhole camera only because he works in the information technology sector. Wayne Natt, 56, who posted the room on Airbnb, was arrested for video voyeurism and is currently out on bond. His arraignment is scheduled for next month. Neither he nor his attorney immediately responded to ABC News’ request for comment Wednesday.
Airbnb told ABC News that Natt had an account on its website for two years and had at least 40 reviews. The company said it has permanently banned him from the site. “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.
Local authorities said they found two cameras hidden in smoke detectors at the property. Lt. Bob Bourque of the Longboat Key Police Department told WFTS-TV that officers seized from Natt’s home “a lot of computer storage data devices, hard drives, computers, laptops, S.D. cards, anything that would store data.”
Experts recommend that people untrained in such matters look for hidden cameras by using the camera light on a smartphone to spot the reflection from a lens. There are also apps that claim they can detect hidden cameras. In addition, if you are extremely concerned about your privacy, you can also purchase an RF detector, which checks for wireless signals and may be able to detect hidden cameras.