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Airbnb host has world riveted over stolen painting that was replaced inside her own home

Who is this Airbnb Bandit?

airbnb, airbnb dispute
@allbelongco/TikTok

How bizarre, how bizarre.

It should go without saying that it’s not cool to steal from your Airbnb. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still happen.

However, when one Airbnb host recently discovered a guest had—for some strange reason—stolen one of her paintings, then replaced it with a completely different painting, she decided to make the best out of a very uncool situation by sharing the story on TikTok.

As a result, viewers got to witness an continuously unraveling, truly bizarre modern-day art heist.

Okay, let’s get into it.


"OK the weirdest thing just happened," host Amy Corbett says at the beginning of her video.

She then shows what the living room in the listing normally looks like—with a painting of a map hanging on a wall over a couch.

But when Corbett shows up to the unit, we see that it is definitely not a painting of a map hanging on a wall over a couch. Instead, there’s a painting of an orange airplane.

“I have never seen the picture before in my life!” Corbett exclaims in the video.

@allbelongco The weirdest thing a guest has ever done. #airbnb #airbnbstory #airbnbguest #airbnbthief #crazystory #story #fyp ♬ original sound - allbelong.co

Creeped out, she looks around the apartment to see if the oil painting is anywhere to be found. Nada. Zilch.

Needless to say, commenters had their theories. Several mentioned hearing similar stories involving the same painting, leading them to believe this was all part of some long and involved paint-swapping prank. Others went the more traditional route of assuming this guest was trying to cover up some damage inflicted to avoid fees. Others still thought this person was an artist trying to do some sort of clandestine self-promotion.

In a follow-up video, Corbett debunked those theories, saying that not only could that airplane image be found “all over the web,” but the wall it was hanging on was “pristine,” not to mention the fact that the original artwork was next to impossible to accidentally damage.

@allbelongco Replying to @exploration_of_love Let’s debunk some theories while we wait to hear from Airbnb… #airbnb #airbnbguest #fyp ♬ original sound - allbelong.co

As for whether or not this person had swapped out other paintings, Corbett has reached out to one of the guest’s previous hosts, who confirmed that it had not taken place there.

Corbett kept audiences in the loop with several follow-ups, including actual security footage of the guest caught in the act.

The video shows a man (now dubbed the Airbnb Bandit) walking from his car carrying the airplane painting. Next, he’s seen in a different-colored hoodie carrying out the map painting, which is bundled up in a blanket.

@allbelongco Camera footage doesn’t lie…🤷🏻‍♀️ #airbnbstory #airbnbguest #fyp #airbnb #airbnbthief #allbelongco #story ♬ original sound - allbelong.co

As if things couldn’t get any stranger, when Corbett sent an official claim through Airbnb about the artwork, the Airbnb Bandit did pay, but only a portion of what was asked. Then when she asked when he could pay the rest of it…he asked for a 5-star review.

Wow. Just…wow.

While the actual identity of this unusual art thief remains a mystery, Corbett is being reimbursed by Airbnb. Plus, she has decidedly made her “negative story into a positive one” by hiring a local artist to create a new painting to hang above her couch, one that features a waterfall view and the Jamestown River visible just outside the listing. Plus, she’s raffling off the airplane painting to raise funds for affordable housing in her area.

This might be one of the weirder Airbnb stories out there, but at least it has a pretty happy ending.


This article originally appeared on 4.30.23

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