Officers in New Jersey break up 700-person house party

Posted at 10:17 AM, Jul 28, 2020

Officers in New Jersey broke up a large house party in New Jersey with hundreds of people in attendance, authorities said.

Police responded to a residence along Mill Pond Road in Jackson following a report of a suspicious incident around 8:30 p.m., according to Jackson Police Department.

Officers arrived and spoke with several neighbors who said a house on the street was rented out to a group that was having a large party, causing a disturbance.

Police contacted the homeowner, who said he had rented out the residence on Airbnb.

The party expanded to about 700 people in attendance, with over 100 vehicles parked in the area, according to police.

Officers began clearing the crowd from the residence and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office was contacted and authorized charges against the homeowner and party organizer for violating the state’s executive order in reference to the number of attendees allowed at a gathering.

Officers from the Freehold Police Department, Howell Police Department, Lakewood Police Department, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Ocean County Sheriff’s Department, and New Jersey State Police also responded to assist and clear the large crowd from the residence and direct traffic as people left the area, according to authorities.

During that time, police also received a call from a resident nearby reporting people who attended the party had broken into their residence and were damaging property.

An investigation determined a family member of the caller was at the original party and had invited a large group back to their residence. The group was then dispersed, police said.

It took until 1 a.m. for the officers to clear the residences of partygoers and all the vehicles from the neighborhood.

The homeowner, later identified as 40-year-old Yaakov Weiss and the party organizers, 23-year-old Patience Guanue and 22-year-old Alicia Hinneh, were issued summonses.

Gov. Phil Murphy referenced the party during his daily coronavirus briefing Monday while discussing flare-ups, particularly among young adults who attended recent house parties.

"You're looking for trouble, you're absolutely looking for trouble, no matter how old you are," he said of people who don't comply with social distancing orders.

State Police Superintendent Pat Callahan attributed the large parties to the lack of bars and restaurants open due to the pandemic.

“I do think the fact that bars and restaurants are close then create this underground situation, which is certainly not what we want," he said.

In a statement, an Airbnb spokesperson said the company is in full contact with the company and is offering their support.

"We strongly condemn the reported behavior, which represents both a clear violation of Airbnb’s community policies and a particularly serious abuse during this public health crisis," Airbnb said.

The listing has since been deactivated and the party organizers have also been removed from the platform, the company said.

WPIX's Kristine Garcia first reported this story.