Women renting Fredericton Airbnb traumatized after being awakened by naked man hiding in closet
FREDERICTON -- A group of women say they are traumatized after being awakened by a naked man in their Airbnb rental over the weekend.
The incident occurred Saturday night when a group of 13 women, some from St. Stephen, N.B., and others from Fredericton, got together to celebrate a friend's engagement.
They rented an Airbnb duplex with one group on one side and everyone else on the other.
"So, when we left in the evening to go out, we had a really hard time getting the door shut," said Jessica Bellis. "It wouldn't shut."
Bellis says they did the best they could to shut the front door when they left.
When they returned an hour later, the door still wouldn't close, so they went to bed and put a dresser against their bedroom door.
"It felt like a cold water bottle on my foot and my instincts must have kicked in," Bellis said. "I know something wasn't right. I flicked the lights on, jumped up on the bed, and I saw a naked man. He was really close to me."
Bellis says she screamed for her roommate to wake up. She says the dresser was still up against the door, trapping them inside.
"I said, 'How did you even get in here? And he said, 'I've been hiding in your closet,'" Bellis said.
As the naked man yelled threats at them, Bellis says they ran across the room, threw the dresser aside, and headed for another bedroom where their friends, who had heard the commotion, were already on the phone to police.
Fredericton police confirm a 41-year-old man was arrested not far from the property.
David Simmonds has been charged with break and enter, assault, and uttering threats.
According to court documents, Simmonds has also been charged with exposing himself in a women's washroom at a pizza restaurant on New Year's Day.
The property owner tells CTV News that all the doors into the home were checked on Saturday morning and were locked.
He thinks the individual may have gained entrance through the front door while the women were out.
He has since refunded the guests their money and has moved the key-pad lock to an inside door.
A spokesperson with Airbnb says the company has reached out to the property owner and the guests, offering support.
The women say police found needles in the basement and in a closet, and drugs that had also been left behind.
"We're looking over our shoulders," said Rebecca Dow. "We don't even feel good going into a store, paranoid in the dark. Literally, every aspect of our life has changed since this event."
The women say they're grateful to Fredericton Police and Victim Services, and feel better knowing a suspect is in custody.
But the incident has left them worrying about their own personal safety, something they say they've never had to do before.
Fredericton police say Simmonds will be back in court for a plea on Jan. 28.