A person of interest connected to the ransacking of a San Francisco apartment that garnered national attention because the owner used an Internet vacation renting site is in custody in Santa Clara County on separate charges, according to law enforcement officials.
San Francisco police Officer Albie Esparza said it’s unknown if the arrested 19-year-old Belmont woman is the person who rented the apartment in question. The District Attorney’s Office has yet to file charges pending further investigation.
Faith Clifton was arrested in June, just days after an Airbnb user who identified herself as “EJ” wrote a blog post about her horrifying experience temporarily renting out her apartment.
“They smashed a hole through a locked closet door, and found the passport, cash, credit card and grandmother’s jewelry I had hidden inside. They took my camera, my iPod, an old laptop, and my external backup drive filled with photos, journals... my entire life,” the post said.
Airbnb is an Internet home-sharing website where users can either host vacationers or rent a person’s home while on vacation. EJ said in her blog post that a large red flag she should have paid attention to was the limited correspondence she had with her visitor, who was only identified as “DJ Pattrson.”
Clifton was arrested in Santa Clara County last month on an outstanding warrant out of Milpitas. She pleaded guilty to possession of stolen property, counterfeiting equipment and a forged driver’s license, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office. She is slated to be sentenced Friday.
Airbnb declined requests for comment, but in a blog entry posted on their site Monday, CEO Brian Chesky acknowledged the company’s mismanagement of EJ’s situation. In hopes of preventing future problems, Airbnb is offering $50,000 in property insurance for hosts, a 24-hour customer-service hotline and an in-house team devoted to investigating suspicious activity.