Derek Starnes and his wife were renting out an Airbnb unit in Longboat Key, Florida, when they realized what appeared to be a smoke detector was in fact a camera - and it was pointed directly at the bed, WFTS reported.
Police said some of the recorded videos date back as far as 2008, and they say they are concerned because of the high number of people who may have never known they were being recorded.
As to the author of this high-tech peeping-tom escapade, authorities turned to 56-year-old Wayne Natt, who owns the home and has been renting it through Airbnb for the past 2 years.
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He's been charged with one count of video voyeurism, but in his defense: Natt claims he'd rigged the camera up for the explicit intent of filming sex parties between consenting adults. However, police say the cameras can be operated remotely and they recovered numerous video files, including one of the IN couple who sounded the alarm.
"We did have the opportunity to analyze what was on the SD card and there are a couple of different people on them", Longboat Key Police Lt. Robert Bourque told WFLA.
They are now going through the data to see if local victims dating Natt were also recorded without consent as well as prior Airbnb customers.
Prior to his arrest, Natt had more than 40 reviews on Airbnb and had been on the home-sharing site for two years, according to WFTS. Starnes shared to ABC, "My wife and I are distressed by this situation". When cops arrived at the scene, investigators discovered two "smoke detector" cameras with HD-quality footage and audio, the report said. Starnes reckons the bedroom camera recorded him naked. "I hope more victims will come forward", Starnes said.
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Natt said that location of the camera "gave him a better angle", according to Bourque. What we said to that was... if people are consenting to recording sexual activity why is it hidden in a smoke alarm?
"He says that everyone videoed had knowledge he was videoing them", Bourque said.
The home-sharing company has permanently banned Natt, and is working with local law enforcement in their on-going investigation.
The lieutenant also explained that he and his colleagues now have to identify the potential other victims and determine whether they were filmed surreptitiously. "We take privacy issues extremely seriously and have a zero-tolerance policy against this behavior", Breit added.
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