A police investigation that began after a woman believed she’d found a hidden camera in the Airbnb she was renting has found that the offending item was simply a plug socket.
Kennedy Calwell and 14 others were staying near Vancouver, Canada, to celebrate a 30th birthday when their “paranoid” friend said she had a feeling that there were cameras watching them, reported Stuff.
In a now-deleted TikTok video, Ms Calwell said that they initially thought her friend was “just being dramatic” but proceeded to check “every single showerhead, all the picture frames, doorknobs, everywhere in the house for a camera”. After finding what they considered a strange outlet that wouldn’t fit any appliance, they took it apart with a butter knife. She said the wall socket “faced directly to the shower”, and the group thought they’d discovered a surveillance device.
"You can see in the top here there’s nothing, looks totally normal. And then the bottom one, look at that little camera," she said in the video. The group contacted the police, who according to messages shown by Ms Calwell in the video, appeared to confirm that there were multiple cameras in the property – but this turned out not to be the case.
The Sunshine Coast Royal Mountain Police confirmed that they’d received a report from the group of friends and engaged a specialised unit as “it was noted that the outlets did look suspicious.” The items were removed and sent to a laboratory for forensic and functional examination.
“On 30 June, Sunshine Coast RCMP were advised that after examination of the electrical outlets, it was confirmed that they were in fact electrical outlets and did not contain cameras, lenses or any type of storage/recording devices. The complainants, the homeowner and Airbnb have all been notified of this finding,” the police said in a statement.
At the time, a spokesperson for Airbnb told The Independent: “We ban hidden cameras and previously refunded the guest as we investigate this allegation.”
In a new statement, the accommodation platform said: “Airbnb is thankful to the Sunshine Coast RCMP for their investigation, and our hope is that the guests are reassured by their findings. Following their investigation, we have also reinstated the host.”
Before the TikTok was taken down, it had been viewed more than 6.5 million times.
This article was amended on 27 July 2023 following the conclusion of the police investigation to reflect the fact that no camera was found.
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