When an Outer Sunset woman decided to rent her home out via Airbnb, she was likely hoping to make an extra couple hundred bucks. Instead, over $35,000 of her possessions were stolen, and the suspect is nowhere to be found.
According to San Francisco Police Department spokesperson Officer Carlos Manfredi, police were called to a residence on the corner of 27th Avenue and Judah Street on June 8 on reports of a theft.
"Upon arrival they met with the victim who informed them that she rents out her residence through an online lodging website," Manfredi said. IDG reports that the website in question was Airbnb, and an Airbnb spokesperson contacted by SFist this morning did not deny their site's involvement in the case.
"According to the victim, she had rented out her residence to a customer on April 27, 2015," Manfredi says.
"During the suspect's stay, the suspect had access to the entire apartment, except a closet and office which are kept locked and inaccessible to guests. The victim advised the officers that during the suspect's stay, she had forced entry into the locked closet and office, and stole over $35,000 in valuable merchandise."
The victim supplied SFPD with video of the suspect entering the locked room, dressed at one point in what appears to be a Playboy-bunny emblazoned vest. The video also shows the suspect entering Actnet, a computer repair business located directly beneath the victim's residence at 2207 Judah Street. Here's the video:
It was only "due to the quality of the video," Manfredi says, that "investigators were able to identify the suspect."
Though an Airbnb spokesperson acknowledged receipt of SFist's questions regarding the case — among other mysteries, it seems odd that SFPD had to rely on suspect-supplied video, not Airbnb records — the questions were not responded to at publication time.
Perhaps their reluctance to respond to questions is understandable: as IDG notes, "The incident comes as services like Airbnb are waging a charm offensive intended to soften their image ahead of an upcoming ballot initiative in San Francisco." While anyone can be a victim of theft (Airbnb host or not!), it certainly doesn't help Airbnb's image when users of the service pull shit like this.
In any case, police say that the suspect is Jana Dominquez, 27, of Richmond, CA. That's her photo on the right.
According to Manfredi, "Dominquez has an active felony warrant for 2nd degree burglary and falsely impersonating another person," but has managed to evade police as of Monday.
However, SFPD is hoping that will change with the release of this video and information! Manfredi says that anyone with information on Dominquez's whereabouts is asked to call Sergeant Jesse Farrell at Taraval Station at 415-759-3100, SFPD's Anonymous Tip Line at 415-575-4444 or Text A Tip to TIP411 and include "SFPD" at the beginning of the message.
Update 11:11 a.m.: Airbnb spokesperson Christopher Nulty refused to answer any of SFist's specific questions on the incident, and instead sent along this statement:
Over 45 million hosts and guests have had positive experiences on Airbnb and situations like this are incredibly rare. When they do happen, we work quickly to make things right. Our Trust and Safety team has been in close contact with this host to provide her with our full support. We have zero tolerance for this sort of behavior in our community, and this guest has been permanently removed from Airbnb. We have been in contact with law enforcement to offer our assistance in their investigation.