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'Stay cautious:' Airbnb to reimburse family after they say Christmas presents were stolen

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 12/26/2019 David Oliver, USA TODAY

Airbnb refunded a family's stay and is working to reimburse them for stolen property after the family says their Christmas presents were taken during a holiday trip. 

Sandra Mpofu and her family booked an Airbnb in Niagara Falls (the American side) for a holiday vacation, only to find their presents and luggage — not to mention Mpofu's father's insulin and the rental's TV — missing after going out to dinner.

"When we arrived at the Airbnb after dinner, my aunt and I noticed that the TV in the living room was missing," Mpofu told USA TODAY. "I looked in the corner where I had placed all of our wrapped presents, and they were all gone. That’s when my aunt ran upstairs and found all the luggage gone, as well."

Mpofu then called the police while her uncle called the Airbnb host, who asked if they had left the side door unlocked, but they didn't know about a side door.

When they checked the door leading to the basement, they found it open, and in turn found the basement door unlocked.

"Our family is from South Africa; we just wanted to have a good Christmas together, enjoy the company with each other, so for this to happen right before Christmas is like overwhelming and really disappointing, to be honest,” Mpofu told WIVB.

"Our sympathies are with this family," Airbnb spokesperson Liz DeBold Fusco told USA TODAY. "We have already provided them with a full refund and we are assisting with their stolen property." 

The family also called the Niagara Falls Police and reported the incident to Airbnb.. They chose to stay in a hotel, though Mpofu told WIVB the Airbnb host did give them the option of a different location to finish up their vacation.

USA TODAY has reached out to the Niagara Falls Police Department. 

IN PHOTOS: Travel advisories by country

Mpofu recounted the ordeal in a Facebook post: "By the grace of God we were not at the house during the robbery and our passports were well hidden," she wrote.

She also thanked those who have helped her family, including the police, and said they still found a way to celebrate Christmas.

Related Facebook post

Shared from Facebook

"I hope this brings light to anyone using Airbnb to secure your belongings and stay cautious whilst travelling," Mpofu wrote. "At the end of the day, we’re Mpofu’s and Mpofu’s find the bright side in any tough situation we’re placed in so although this may have dampened our mood we won’t let this take the joy away from celebrating Christmas together as a family❤️ Merry Christmas from mine to yours."

RELATED VIDEO: Airbnb wins fight to remain exempt from European property rules (Provided by: Reuters)

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