A homeowner and two party organizers were charged Sunday after police in New Jersey spent nearly five hours shutting down a gathering that drew more than 700 people to an Airbnb rental, authorities said.
Around 8:30 p.m., police in Jackson responded to a home on Mill Pond Road on a report of a suspicious incident, Capt. Steven Laskiewicz said in a statement.
Residents in the neighborhood told police that a home on the street had been rented out to a group having a large party that was causing a disturbance and appeared to be in violation of the state’s order that limits outdoor gatherings to 500 people and indoor gatherings to 100 people, police said.
After observing “a large crowd at the residence,” officers contacted the homeowner, Yaakov Weiss, 40, of Jackson, who told police that he had rented out the residence through Airbnb and was hosting a large party, the statement said. The homeowner said that as about 200 people had arrived at the home and the party was expanding, he left, according to police.
The home was described as a “stunning 3,700-plus square foot home,” and the host’s house rules banned parties, Airbnb spokesman Ben Breit told NBC News.
Police estimate the gathering grew to more than 700 people with over 100 vehicles parked in the area.
More 911 calls were received throughout the night from homeowners reporting disturbances and trespassing, police said.
“As the crowd grew in size, this took the effort of all of the on-duty Jackson police officers who responded as the roads into the neighborhood were shut down because more partygoers were still arriving,” the statement said.
Officers from a handful of agencies, including the New Jersey State Police, assisted in clearing the area which took until about 1 a.m., police said.
Authorities also received a 911 call from a nearby resident reporting that people who had left the party had broken into their home and were damaging property, police said.
“It was determined that a family member of the caller who had been at the original party had invited a large group from the party back to the residence,” Jackson police said. “Additional officers responded and the unwanted group was then dispersed from this second residence.”
Weiss and two others who police said were identified as the party organizers, Patience Guanue, 23, and Alicia Hinneh, 22, both of Newark, were issued summonses for violating the governor’s executive order.
The Airbnb spokesman said that Guanue and Hinneh have been removed from the platform and the listing for the home has been deactivated while the company conducts an investigation.
“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,” Breit said.
Airbnb has also temporarily disabled the “event-friendly” search filter, which is typically used to identify venues for parties and gatherings, Breit said. The company has also temporarily removed the “parties and events allowed” rule from the “House Rules” of any listings in New Jersey that formerly authorized parties.