Airbnb Guest Robs Host at Gunpoint, Police Say - The World News

Airbnb Guest Robs Host at Gunpoint, Police Say

A man rented a room in an Atlanta suburb on Airbnb last week, and then robbed the host at gunpoint, the police said.

The guest booked a basement room in Buford, Ga., a city about 40 miles northeast of Atlanta, and robbed his Airbnb host less than an hour after he checked in, according to a report provided by the Gwinnett County Police.

The police identified Khalil Hamilton, 26, as the suspect, and said that he had used his I.D. to book the stay.

Mr. Hamilton, who is wanted on charges of armed robbery, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, had not been arrested as of Monday morning, a police spokesman, Cpl. Juan Madiedo, said in an email.

The police report said that Mr. Hamilton had texted the host about 40 minutes after he checked in on Sept. 26 to say that the toilet was leaking. The host inspected the toilet and while he was in the bathroom, Mr. Hamilton pointed a handgun at him, the report said. Mr. Hamilton made the host get on the ground, zip tied his wrists and legs and demanded that he give him his wallet, the report said.

Mr. Hamilton took the host’s wallet and backpack, and fled in a Honda passenger car, the police report said.

The host twisted and turned, succeeding in freeing one of his hands from the zip tie, according to the report, and then went upstairs to call the police. His mother and son were on the second floor of the house during the incident and did not see or hear anything unusual, the police report said.

Khalil Hamilton.Credit…via Gwinnett County Police

The backpack contained headphones valued at $150 and a wallet with about $120 in cash, the report said, as well as the host’s credit and debit cards and driver’s license.

Airbnb, which called the incident “abhorrent” in a statement, said it had a safety team supporting the host. “We have removed the user from the platform, and we are in touch with the Gwinnett County Police Department to provide our assistance as they investigate,” the statement said.

Airbnb guests pay at the time of booking and background checks are conducted on guests, according to the company’s website. Airbnb also has a process to verify guests’ identities.

The company provides hosts with up to $3 million in damage protection in the event a guest damages the property or the host’s belongings during a stay, though there are exceptions in the policy, its website says.

Mr. Hamilton has ties to Philadelphia and Texas, and is considered “armed and dangerous,” the police said in a statement posted on Facebook.

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