Mountain View police are warning residents that a growing number of criminals are using Airbnb as a way to burglarize homes in the Bay Area, including a recent heist earlier in the Old Mountain View neighborhood.
At the beginning of August, police say 35-year-old David Lefevre rented an apartment on Calderon Avenue through Airbnb, and cancelled the reservation shortly before he was scheduled to stay in the home. Soon after the cancellation, the apartment was burglarized and several items taken from the home, according to police.
The residents of the home called police on Aug. 11 after Lefevre allegedly opened a credit account and tried to purchase a new iPhone at a local AT&T store. Detectives went to the store, found Lefevre and arrested him after finding a majority of the items stolen from the apartment in his car. Lefevre was arrested on charges of residential burglary, identity theft, possession of stolen property and fraudulent use of a credit card. He was booked into Santa Clara County Main Jail on a $145,000 bail.
Police are advising residents to avoid leaving anything valuable in homes that they rent out through Airbnb, including jewelry, portable electronics and personal, important documents including passports and Social Security cards. Anything valuable in the house should be stowed away in a safe attached to the floor of the home. Residents are also advised to meet with the temporary renters ahead of time and verify their identities with a driver's license.