Armed robbery at Airbnb under investigation, days after ‘party house’ ban

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Airbnb hit with more bad news after banning party houses.
Airbnb hit with more bad news after banning party houses.

Image: Avishek Das / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Image

By Brittany Levine Beckman

Airbnb’s party house problems keep piling up.

Less than a week after the short-term rental site banned party houses in response to a shooting at one, another party house listing reportedly became the scene of an armed robbery. 

Atlanta police are investigating after a group of masked men with guns entered a house rented on Airbnb for what may have been a belated Halloween party. The robbers, who showed up at 2:30 a.m. and came in through an unlocked door, struck two of the victims before shouting at the rest to get on the floor. 

“The suspects went throughout the home taking cell phones, wallets, and Nike shoes before fleeing the scene,” according to a police statement provided to Mashable. One victim was taken to the hospital; their injuries are unknown.

A witness told a local TV reporter that about seven friends were at the party. Police spokesman Investigator James White told the Atlanta Journal Constitution the house “was an Airbnb,” according to victims, “but it is unknown if it was being rented at the time.”

+++ A witness tells me there were about seven friends having a belated Halloween party at the rental property.

— Emilie Ikeda (@EmilieIkedaFOX5) November 8, 2019

While the Atlanta Journal Constitution spotted the house up for rent for large groups and parties earlier Friday, that evening the listing had been removed from Airbnb’s website. The nearly 4,000-square-foot home has 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms, according to real estate site Zillow. 

Airbnb has yet to respond to request for comment.

Criminal activity at Airbnb party houses has been happening for years, but a shooting in Orinda, California on Halloween night that left five dead finally sparked action from the company. Two days later, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky announced that Airbnb would put an end to party houses.

“Starting today, we are banning “party houses” and we are redoubling our efforts to combat unauthorized parties and get rid of abusive host and guest conduct, including conduct that leads to the terrible events we saw in Orinda,” Chesky tweeted.

SEE ALSO: Airbnb plans to verify 100% of its listings after mass shooting, scam allegations

Chesky gave his staff 10 days to develop and implement the ban and other safety initiatives. The armed robbery came six days into the process. 

On Wednesday — two days before the armed robbery — Airbnb vowed to verify all of its 7 million listings for accuracy, quality, and cleanliness by December 2020 and launch a 24-hour emergency hotline in the U.S. by the end of the year.

It remains to be seen how long it will take Airbnb to actually ban all its party houses — and how many may fall through the cracks even after new rules are put in place. 

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