DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A viral Facebook video showing the moment thieves stole flat-screen TVs from an Airbnb rental is now the focus of a criminal investigation.
The homeowner told Channel 2’s Michael Seiden that, by all accounts, the renter appeared to be legitimate. But now he’s left with a huge mess inside his home.
Luke and his husband, Rob, who did not want their last names used, are the owners of the five-bedroom house on Glenwood Avenue in DeKalb County.
“Looking back, we should’ve canceled the reservation,” Luke said. “The best we can tell so far is probably between $4,000 or $5,000 of damage,”
Luke talked to Seiden through Skype on Tuesday because he is currently in Nashville attending a business conference.
He said that, over the weekend, the four suspected thieves got more than just some R and R.
“We took a leap of faith on this young man and tried to allow him to rent our Airbnb with no judgement and, indeed, he ended up unloading us,” Luke said.
Home surveillance video shows Brian Williams and two unidentified men walking out the front door with flat-screen TVs, toiletries and linens.
“I feel pretty helpless here. Not much I can do,” Luke told Seiden.
Luke reported what he saw to police but by the time officers arrived at his home, the men had already gotten away.
As police continue to search for the thieves, Luke told Seiden that he is working with officials at Airbnb.
“He (Williams) didn’t have any reviews on his Airbnb profile and he was a member as of February 2019, so those should be red flags,” Luke said.
He also has a message for anyone trying to host.
“Don’t be scared to turn down a reservation. It is your home, at the end of the day. It is your property, so definitely screen on your own,” Luke said.
Airbnb sent Seiden a statement, saying:
“Our community's safety is our priority. We are supporting our host via our Host Guarantee and have suspended the guest accounts as we investigate this incident.”
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