File: 20-13349

Victoria, BC – Two men have been arrested and several thousand dollars in stolen property recovered after Patrol officers were called to investigate a COVID-19 AirBnB scam.

On Saturday, March 28th, Patrol officers were called to a multi-unit residential building in the 600-block of Herald Street after a unit owner became suspicious of an AirBnB guest’s COVID-19 claims. The guest refused to leave the unit, claiming a positive COVID-19 diagnosis and severe symptoms. The unit owner initially allowed the guest to remain free of charge, but then became suspicious upon learning the man had been observed leaving the building.

Officers attended and located the man. Upon speaking with him, they learned he did not, in fact, have a COVID-19 diagnosis, nor any symptoms. When officers escorted the man to the unit to retrieve his belongings, they discovered a second man in the unit who was wanted on warrants alongside several thousand dollars’ worth of stolen property. Both men denied any knowledge of the property in question, which was seized. Both men were arrested. The man wanted on warrants was transported to Saanich Police Department.

The investigation into this file remains underway and officers are in the process of attempting to reunite the stolen property with the rightful owners.

On Friday, we issued a release warning AirBnB owners and members of the public that scammers were attempting to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please review our recommendations for keeping your short-term vacation rental unit crime free.

If you have information about this incident or another AirBnB COVID-19 scam, please call our non-emergency line at (250) 995-7654. To report what you know anonymously, please call Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers at 1-800-2220-8477.