Why break into a house if you don't have to? That's, perhaps, what went through the mind of 18-year-old Hayward man Elisel Jesus Navarro, who was arrested Saturday after allegedly renting an East Bay home through Airbnb then robbing the absent homeowner blind.
The East Bay Times reports that Navarro allegedly booked a Piedmont home on Airbnb using someone else's identity, later telling police that "he purchased the personal information that he used to reserve the home."
The homeowner had given Navarro the keys and his staycation had commenced, Piedmont Police Department Captain Jeremy Bower says, when the host learned through Airbnb that the reservation was fraudulent.
Police were dispatched to the home at 11:20 a.m. Saturday, Bowers says. Navarro threw a bag containing his host's jewelry from an upstairs window, police say, then ran out the front door and into the waiting arms of the law.
Navarro, who has an Alameda County rap sheet that includes past arrests for residential burglary, drugs and auto theft, "was also allegedly in possession of property that was stolen from a vehicle in San Ramon on Friday" at the time of his arrest.
You might recall that a year ago, a San Francisco Airbnb host suffered a similar fate, when a guest allegedly stole around $35,000 of her possessions and fled from the scene. In that case, the suspect was nabbed a few months later in Sonoma County on narcotics charges. (A call to the San Francisco District Attorney's Office to see where things stand in that case was not returned at publication time.)
In the present day, Bowers says this might not be the first time Navarro has pulled this alleged scam. "Investigators are now working with Airbnb to find out if Navarro may have attempted to reserve or has stayed at other homes," the EBT reports.
Know anything about the case, or recognize Navarro as one of your Airbnb guests? Then please call Piedmont Police Detective Robert Coffey at 510-420-3010.