Airbnb guest accused of stealing valuables from San Francisco host

Monday, August 3, 2015
Airbnb guest accused of stealing from San Francisco host
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If you rent out or share your home on one of those home-sharing websites, what happened to a San Francisco woman is probably your worst nightmare.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Here's an Airbnb horror story out of San Francisco -- a woman who rented a home in the city is accused of breaking into a locked closet and office to steal thousands of dollars' worth of stuff. Airbnb says it has some 45 million hosts and guests worldwide and incidents like this are rare.

San Francisco police have been investigating this case in the Outer Sunset District since June and are now confirming they found the suspect sitting in the Sonoma County jail.

According to police, 27-year-old Jana Dominguez, who lives in Richmond, rented the San Francisco apartment on Airbnb back in April. And during her stay, while the owner was out of town, she stole more than $35,000 worth of valuables.

"It's your home, your sanctuary, so you feel violated. You feel your trust has been broken," San Francisco spokesperson Officer Albie Esparza.

The home surveillance camera captured the accused thief. Police say she stole diamond jewelry, foreign currency, a telescope and a TV. She's also seen in the victim's business downstairs.

Airbnb says, "Our Trust and Safety team has been in close contact with this host to provide her with our full support."

It's estimated there are more than 5,000 Airbnb hosts in San Francisco. Peter Kwan is one and also has an organization that educates others, Home Sharers of San Francisco. He says Airbnb has $1 million insurance policy that covers for losses and Kwan doesn't think this latest incident will have a chilling effect.

"It really is very rare and that's the reason it has gotten so much press coverage. For the vast majority of the hosts that I know, the experience has been extremely positive," Kwan said.

SFPD says the suspect, Dominguez, is in custody on drug charges in Sonoma County.