Airbnb host accused of having hidden cameras and taking 2,100 explicit images of guests

An Airbnb host has been accused of spying on guests after police discovered he took 2,100 explicit photos and videos with secret recording devices.

Jay Allee, 54, was arrested in November 2021 after a guest at his Texas cabin rental discovered a hidden camera in the bedroom that looked like a power adapter for a router.

Upon discovery in July, the guest contacted authorities, who then examined the camera along with Allee’s other devices and discovered that it had been secretly recording people for a year.

A Jay Alley. Credit: Kendall County Sheriff’s Office

On camera-linked laptops, tablets and phones believed to have belonged to the Airbnb host, police found more than 2,100 images of guests naked, half-dressed or having sex, according to Newsweek.

Following his initial arrest, Allee was charged with four counts of invasive visual recording, a criminal offense in the state of Texas that carries a sentence of up to 180 days to two years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

However, the outlet explained that he now faces 15 counts in a civil suit accusing him of intentionally causing emotional distress and invasion of privacy.

Prior to discovery, Allee’s Cielito Lindo Ranch cabin in Comfort, Texas was favorably reviewed as a vacation spot.

The hidden camera was designed to look like an AC adapter.  Credit: Kendall County Sheriff's Office
The hidden camera was designed to look like an AC adapter. Credit: Kendall County Sheriff’s Office

The civil lawsuit filed against Allee in December found the 54-year-old had achieved Airbnb Superhost and VRBO Premier host status, which attorney Roger Bresnahan said ‘adds an extra layer’ to the notice. guests “that this is a safe and reputable place to stay”.

He added: “It’s appalling how many people have been victimized by this intrusion.”

Bianca Zuniga-Goldwater, who joins Bresnahan to represent 17 of the people who stayed at Allee’s rental cabin, likened the situation to a “real life horror movie”.

‘It’s a real horror movie. It’s not like our customers went to the classifieds and found a random property posted by this faceless person to stay at,’ they said KSAT.

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“They went through what they thought were these huge, safe, top-tier hosting companies reviewing these great properties.”

Nico LaHood, an attorney for Allee, said the host is “looking forward to his day in court” as he maintains his innocence.

The cabin is located in Texas.  Credit: Kendall County Sheriff's Office
The cabin is located in Texas. Credit: Kendall County Sheriff’s Office

According to Airbnb policy, security cameras and noise monitoring devices are permitted as long as they are clearly stated in the listing description and do not invade the privacy of others.

A spokesperson for the vacation rental company said: ‘This B&B owner’s reported criminal behavior is outrageous, and he and his property are banned from Airbnb. Our Law Enforcement Operations team worked to support the Kendall County Sheriff’s Office in their investigation.

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