British Columbia

False COVID-19 claim leads to arrests, seizure of stolen goods

Watchful neighbours helped officers nab a pair of would-be scammers taking advantage of an Airbnb suite owner, Victoria police say.

Neighbours saw man coming, going from Airbnb rental unit after he claimed symptoms were too severe to vacate

Victoria police make a couple of arrests on March 28 after neighbours told them they spotted man who claimed he was too ill to leave an Airbnb suite coming and going from the rental unit. (Victoria Police Department/Facebook)

Two men were arrested and thousands of dollars in stolen property recovered from an Airbnb suite after neighbours became suspicious of a tenant who claimed he was too sick with COVID-19 symptoms to leave the unit. 

The owner had called Victoria police to investigate on Saturday, after neighbours noticed the man coming and going from the building in the 600-block of Herald Street.

Police say the tenant had been allowed to remain living in the suite free of charge after he claimed his symptoms made it impossible for him to leave. 

When officers entered the unit, they discovered another man inside who was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, as well as a stash of stolen property worth thousands of dollars.

The property was seized and both men were arrested.

Police say the investigation is ongoing, and officers are working to return the stolen items to their owners.

Anyone with information about this incident or any other COVID-19-related Airbnb scam is asked to call the Victoria Police Department at 250-995-7654.