Three people have been charged after police broke up a huge party in New Jersey this weekend. An estimated 700 people attended the "Mansion Party," which was billed on a flyer as a way to celebrate "Liberian Independence Day the right way." That celebration apparently included free food, alcohol, DJs, and a $1,000 twerking contest.
Around 8:30 p.m. Sunday, police responded to reports of a party on Mill Pond Road in Jackson Township. “I looked out the front door and all I saw was droves and droves of cars just coming down, and packs of kids, young adults, walking all along our sidewalk and going all over,” neighbor Karen Levine told News12.
Jackson Township police wrote on Facebook that officers observed a large crowd at the residence, and contacted the homeowner, Yaakov Weiss, who came to the scene and "advised officers that he had rented out the residence on Airbnb... Weiss then left the area as an estimated 200 additional people arrived at the residence and the party began to expand."
The crowd then grew to "in excess of 700 people with well over 100 vehicles parked in the area," and other neighbors called 911 to report disturbances and trespassing. Officers from seven different local police departments had to be called in to help disperse the crowd, which took until 1 a.m. to clear up.
While this was happening, there was also a 911 call from one neighbor reporting that people who had left that party had "broken into their residence and were damaging property." However, it was later "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."
After everything was cleared, homeowner Yaakov Weiss, 40, and party organizers Patience Guanue, 23, and Alicia Hinneh, 22, were all issued summonses for violating the Governor’s Executive Order. As of now, New Jersey outdoor gatherings are limited to 500 people and indoor gatherings are limited to 100 people or 25% of a room’s capacity, whichever is less.
News12 reports that Weiss only purchased the home last week, then advertised it on Airbnb for $824 per night and billed it as a “stunning 3,700 square foot home” with room for eight guests. The listing has since been removed from Airbnb, which said in a statement that they "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."
This isn't the first large house party to attract unwanted attention in New Jersey recently. Just over a week ago, three people were charged after multiple local police departments broke up a party that had more than 400 people in attendance in the Baywood section of Brick Township. One of those people charged, 23-year-old homeowner Michelle Cicchillo, later sent a letter of apology to her neighbors, saying the party grew out of control and that she had asked police to help shut it down. “I realize it was a huge mistake. I cannot undo what was done but I can promise for it to never happen again,” she wrote.