Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Airbnb renters find hidden camera in bedroom of Longboat Key condo

LONGBOAT KEY — When an Indiana couple arrived at their Longboat Key Airbnb rental last month, they found something in the bedroom they didn't expect.

A hidden camera.

According to published reports, Derek Starnes said he and his wife noticed a small hole in the smoke detector on the ceiling of their Airbnb's bedroom on Sept. 1, the day after they checked into the condo at 623 Cedars Court.

Starnes removed the device and found a microphone and a camera hidden inside.

They called the police. When officers arrived, they found another camera hidden in the condo's living room and seized all hard drives, SD cards, and other data storage devices, according to reports.

The homeowner, 56-year-old Wayne Natt, was arrested by Longboat Key Police and faces one charge of video voyeurism.

Natt reportedly admitted to filming dozens of sex acts, but claimed that participants were aware of the cameras.

While Natt currently faces the one count, there could be more if authorities determine the rest of the seized footage captured unknowing guests.

According to Longboat Key police, when asked why he needed to hide the camera in a smoke detector if the participants were consenting, Natt replied that the mounted camera "provided a better angle."

Starnes told police he was able to notice the concealed pinhole camera only because he works in the information technology sector.

In a statement to the Tampa Bay Times, Airbnb spokesman Benjamin Breit said Natt had an account on its website for two years and was reviewed around 40 times.

"We are outraged at the reports of what happened," Breit said in the statement. "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 performs background checks for state and county criminal records, as well as state and national sex offender listings, according to the company's website.

However, "background checks don't always identify a person's past crimes or other red flags," the website states. "They are never a guarantee that a person won't break the law in the future."

Contact Samantha Putterman at sputterman@tampabay.com. Follow her on Twitter @samputterman.

An Indiana couple discovered a hidden camera in their Airbnb rental in Longboat Key. The camera was found in a smoke detector mounted on the ceiling above their bed. [Courtesy of Longboat Police Department]

An Indiana couple discovered a hidden camera in their Airbnb rental in Longboat Key. The camera was found in a smoke detector mounted on the ceiling above their bed. [Courtesy of Longboat Police Department]

Airbnb renters find hidden camera in bedroom of Longboat Key condo 10/12/17 [Last modified: Thursday, October 12, 2017 11:13am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Unforgiving wildfires affect vineyard workers and owners

    Nation

    SONOMA, Calif. — When the wildfires ignited, vineyard workers stopped picking grapes and fled for their lives. Some vineyard owners decided to stay and fight back, spending days digging firebreaks and sleeping among their vines.

    Wilma Illanes and daughter Gabriela Cervantes, 8, found their home intact, but had lost a week’s wages and sought aid.
  2. O'Reilly got new contract after big settlement

    Nation

    Last January, six months after Fox News ousted its chairman amid a sexual harassment scandal, the network's top-rated host at the time, Bill O'Reilly, struck a $32 million agreement with a longtime network analyst to settle new sexual harassment allegations, two people briefed on the matter told the New York …

    Bill O’Reilly was fired by Fox News after multiple allegations.
  3. Trump plans to release JFK assassination documents

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump announced Saturday morning that he planned to release the tens of thousands of never-before-seen documents left in the files related to President John F. Kennedy's assassination held by the National Archives and Records Administration.

    FILE - In this Nov. 22, 1963 file photo, President John F. Kennedy waves from his car in a motorcade in Dallas. Riding with Kennedy are First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, right, Nellie Connally, second from left, and her husband, Texas Gov. John Connally, far left.  President Donald Trump, on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017,  says he plans to release thousands of never-seen government documents related to President John F. Kennedy's assassination.  (AP Photo/Jim Altgens, File) NY107
  4. Water leak slows traffic in Westshore area

    Public Safety

    TAMPA –– A broken water main has closed the westbound lane of West Cypress Street between North Westshore Boulevard and North Ward Street. The city estimates the repairs will be completed by 7 a.m. on Sunday.

  5. Fox renewed O'Reilly contract despite knowing of allegations

    Nation

    NEW YORK (AP) — The Fox News Channel says the company knew a news analyst planned to file a sexual harassment lawsuit against Bill O'Reilly when it renewed the popular personality's contract in February.

    Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly appears on the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," in New York. O'Reilly has lost his job at Fox News Channel in April following reports that several women had been paid millions of dollars to keep quiet about harassment allegations. [Associated Press file]