Melbourne Airbnb “gang-ransacked”, Werribee Street left in disarray
Police believe a gang of youngsters in the far west of Melbourne could be responsible for the rampage of an Airbnb property in Werribee, after three other properties rented on online booking sites were damaged this month.
Walls and furniture were damaged, cars were smashed and police were attacked with stones after a party on the property got out of hand at around 3:30 a.m.
Police said four girls who were in Werribee for a basketball tournament rented the property and threw a party.
However, when it started to get too big, the girls tried to ask people to leave.
The ABC understands that the girls were subsequently assaulted by some of the revelers.
Officers were called home at around 3:30 a.m. after complaints of noise, but were forced to retreat when stones were thrown at them by revelers.
Police then called their law enforcement and critical incident response teams to ease the situation.
The revelers then dispersed and no one was arrested at the scene.
Outside the house this morning, detectives named the group suspected of being involved as the Werribee “Menace To Society” (MTS) gang.
Police said they were investigating the destruction of other Airbnb and booking.com properties over the past month, including:
- a house in Altona in Early December
- a house in Williams Landing on Saturday night
- an apartment in Docklands on Monday evening
Police said they were investigating whether the damage to those properties was gang-related.
The damage inside the house included graffiti of the group’s initials.
Victoria Police Inspector Martin Allison said police were trying to find out who was involved.
“The message we need to get across to the community, to the people who behave in such a terrible way, is that they will be held to account.
“They will be held to account for their behavior and they will be held to account for their conduct inside the house and on the streets.”
Inspector Allison said the revelers “probably caused damage to most parts” of the Airbnb home, including the walls and furniture.
He said police spoke to the owner of the property, who was “quite sorry”.
“But the reality is that it is the conduct of the people who were here that will be held to account.”
In a statement, Airbnb said it had banned those who booked the house and that incidents like this were rare.
“Airbnb has zero tolerance for this kind of behavior, which goes against everything our community stands for,” he said.
“We have permanently banned these people from our platform and fully support our host.
“Our team has also contacted local law enforcement to offer our assistance in their investigation. We hope justice will be served quickly.”
A policeman was slightly injured in the elbow during the clashes.
Several cars, including a police car, were also damaged and their windows smashed.
Inspector Allison said homeowners who rent their homes for short stays should be wary.
“I urge community members who have their home on Airbnb to look for three, sometimes four, separate pieces of identification.”