SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — A couple who rented an Airbnb in Orange County on Tuesday say they found a hidden camera inside of a smoke alarm.
Even more disturbing they say the camera was pointed at the bed.
Christian Aranda noticed something odd about the smoke detector on the wall across from their bed. He took cell phone video.
“I just opened it up. Found there was an SD slot in there. Found that there was a micro USB in there and turned it off. Put it away,” said Aranda.
Turns out police say it was a fake smoke detector hiding a hidden camera with a missing SD card.
Aranda’s girlfriend, Alanda Salas, says 24 other couples left positive reviews of the Airbnb room for rent. She can’t help but wonder if others may have been recorded.
“If she’s doing it there’s others out there doing it. I want people to know that. If you are going to rent it out look through the whole room. Anything that looks suspicious,” said Salas.
The couple confronted the homeowner who identified herself as Pauline.
They say she told them she just put the device up that morning. But they say the same device appears to be in the Airbnb photo advertising her room for rent.
“She’s like, ‘I’m going to call the cops’, I was like, ‘Call them, I already called them’,” said Aranda.
The couple filed a police report.
CBSLA tried to speak with the owner Thursday night but men who claimed they were renters answered her door and said she wasn’t home.
“I have nothing to talk to you about. I know nothing,” said one of the men.
CBSLA contacted Airbnb and they released a statement saying:
“The safety and privacy of our community — both online and offline — is our priority. Airbnb’s policies prohibit hidden cameras in listings, and we take reports of any violations very seriously. We promptly removed this host from our platform and completely refunded Ms. Salas…”
Salas says it’s not enough.
“That’s just wrong. I think women should know, ‘Hey, you might rent out a room with Airbnb. And your videos could be leaked’,” said Salas.
Police investigators say that they did book that smoke alarm into evidence but they didn’t discover an SD card or any Wi-Fi capability. That means there was no video that was recorded so they can’t charge for any crime.
The couple says they hope that just sharing their story will make others aware to look carefully before they book.