A female Airbnb host was subjected to days of stalking and harassment by a guest she allegedly kicked out for tampering through her belongings and stealing cash.
Alavia Khawaja, who began renting out a spare bedroom in her apartment, shared her nightmare ordeal on Twitter.
So, I Airbnb out a room in my apartment. I had a guest checking in; Everything was normal— I come home to this man cleaning up my apartment. He picked the lock on my bedroom, threw away every photo I had of male friends, and went thru my closet..
— Alavia Khawaja (@EmpressAloeVera) October 27, 2018
In a long thread, Khawaja detailed how the guest, identified as Leonard Jackson, behaved normally initially but became a serious threat to her safety.
“I come home to this man cleaning up my apartment,” Khawaja wrote on Saturday. “He picked the lock on my bedroom, threw away every photo I had of male friends, and went thru my closet.”
In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Khawaja revealed that she was not initially worried since Jackson had a positive review on his profile. She noted, however, that she found it a bit off that he wanted to make sure no other men were staying in the home.
“He said, ‘I just can’t stay with guys is all,’” Khawaja was quoted as saying.
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On Oct. 11, Jackson arrived at the apartment in Richardson, Texas that Khawaja shared with her sister located.
Khawaja only realized Jackson’s ill-motives after her friend ran into Jackson leaving her room, which was supposed to be locked. Khawaja’s closet was ransacked and photos of male friends were thrown in the trash.
“I confronted him and he denied everything,” Khawaja tweeted. “I kicked him out and he had the audacity to tell me to refund him. I found out an hour later that he stole cash (around $500) and immediately contacted Airbnb.”
After reporting the incident to the Richardson Police Department, Khawaja also contacted Airbnb, which told her to fill out a conflict resolution form.
“Then he started texting me. I ignored him. So he went on to message me on Airbnb,” she narrated, adding a screenshot of a message in which he asked her to come and stay with him.
“I called the police again and the detective updated me that he found that the man had been recently arrested for harming a child, but again, they couldn’t do anything unless he admitted to stealing from me. I called Airbnb again but nothing came from it.”
She then decided to text him back to get a confession that she could bring to the police.
When Jackson told her he was coming over, she called the police again.
“They said they can’t do anything. And that once I see him I should call 911,” said Khawaja.
With the threat of potential harm, Khawaja took matters into her own hands and got into her car and parked where she could see her apartment entrance.
Khawaja said that Jackson kept texting her stuff like, “ I better not have any guys there,” “bathroom better be clean,” and “I need condoms.”
When Jackson showed up, she immediately notified the police and he was apprehended for trespassing.
“They arrested him for trespassing and caught him with THREE pistols on him,” she wrote. “They assured me that he would be in jail for a while……..but was released 24 hours later.”
Jackson was arrested for criminal trespassing on Oct. 20 and again on Oct. 17 for unauthorized carrying of a weapon and drug charges, the police confirmed. While in jail, he managed to call Khawaja multiple times.
He was released on bond both times but Khawaja was never informed that he’d been set free.
“He tried calling me four times from jail,” Khawaja revealed. “Then he messaged me on Airbnb and that’s how I found out that he was out. The police didn’t tell me, they were ‘too busy.'”
She lamented that it took Airbnb about two weeks from the time she reported him to do anything about it.
“They deleted his profile yesterday,” she wrote. “This is a trash service. I could’ve been murdered. This is a warning to everyone who uses Airbnb.”
Two other women have since come forward on Twitter saying they also had negative experiences with Jackson.
Airbnb has released a statement condemning the guest’s actions and admitting to their slow response:
“This reported behavior is abhorrent and unacceptable and has no place on Airbnb. We have removed this guest from our platform and are in contact with local law enforcement to offer our assistance,” Airbnb spokesperson Ben Breit told BuzzFeed.
“Our initial response to this incident was simply too slow and we are working to fully support our host. There have been over 400 million guest arrivals to date and negative incidents are extremely rare.”
While Khawaja is no longer receiving messages from Jackson, she still fears for her life as he remains free and knows where she lives.
Featured image via Instagram/empress.aloevera