The Washington Post

Airbnb announces insurance program as details on burglary suspect emerge


Airbnb has apologized to its customers and set up an insurance fund. (istockphoto.com)

The San Francisco Police Department has arrested a woman in connection with the burglary of an Airbnb client on June 28, police spokesman Albie Esparza confirmed Tuesday.

Authorities said that Faith Clifton, 19, was found with items taken from the apartment of an owner who was participating in the Airbnb program. She was charged with fraud, possession of stolen property and methamphetamine and faced an outstanding warrant from an unidentified county.

Esparza said that it’s not yet clear how Clifton is connected to the case, but confirmed that the arrest was linked to the Airbnb burglary described by blogger “EJ” in a post that went viral last week.

As my The Washington Post’s Emi Kolawole reported, Airbnb has apologized to its customers and will offer a 24-hour phone line and $50,000 insurance program to cover any future incidents beginning Aug. 15.

Chief executive Brian Chesky wrote a direct apology to EJ for the company’s response to the situation.

“With regards to EJ, we let her down, and for that we are very sorry. We should have responded faster, communicated more sensitively, and taken more decisive action to make sure she felt safe and secure,” Chesky wrote.

While he expressed regret over how the company handled the situation, he did not directly respond to EJ’s claims that Airbnb asked her to take down her blog post about the crime.

When asked to comment on EJ’s allegation last week, an Airbnb spokeswoman said, “At this point, our entire team is wholly focused on assisting the victim and putting into place safety measures to prevent future incidents, so we aren't able to accommodate interviews at this time.”

EJ said in an e-mail to reporters that she will not be granting interviews but will instead continue to post to her blog. She has not updated her blog to respond to Airbnb’s latest announcement.

Related stories:

More technology coverage from The Post

Airbnb burglary victim says company tried to quiet her

Airbnb responds to user horror story

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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