New York

Airbnb Guest Planted Cameras to Watch People on Toilet, in Shower: NYPD

What to Know

  • An Airbnb host discovered cameras in the three-bedroom Manhattan apartment she was renting
  • The cameras faced the toilet and shower and had remote-viewing capabilities, police say
  • Police arrested 44-year-old guest and charged him with unlawful surveillance

A New York City Airbnb guest allegedly hid cameras in the bathroom of a rental apartment so he could remotely watch people on the toilet and in the shower, according to court documents and police. 

Ron Rothman, a 44-year-old New Jersey man, allegedly planted the cameras at a Airbnb apartment on Mulberry Street hosted by a woman and her roommate.

The cameras were disguised to look like cellphone chargers and at least one of them faced the toilet and shower. The devices were equipped with remote-viewing capability, police said.

Rothman allegedly planted the devices Monday while he was staying at a room in the three-bedroom apartment. The Airbnb host told police that at one point he asked about her and her roommate's bathroom habits, including when they typically go to the bathroom.

The host said that after Rothman arrived she noticed an iPhone inside a backpack, with its camera positioned toward the toilet. She said she also found a recording device plugged into the electrical outlet, according to a complaint filed Wednesday. 

The host told police she looked at the phone and noticed it was running Cambush, an app that records video using motion-detection. 

Rothman was arrested and charged with unlawful surveillance, a felony. The complaint says he admitted the iPhone and recording device were his. 

A message seeking comment has been left with Rothman's attorney. 

In a statement, Airbnb spokesman Jeff Henry said the company has offered to assist law enforcement in its investigation. He said Rothman has been permanently banned from the Airbnb community.

"Airbnb takes privacy extremely seriously and there is absolutely no place in our community for this kind of illegal and outrageous behavior," Henry said.

Airbnb policy doesn't allow cameras in bathrooms or bedrooms and any other camera must be disclosed ahead of time. It also prohibits spying on other people or violating their privacy. 

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