Three New Jerseyans have been charged with violating Governor Phil Murphy’s executive order limiting gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic after throwing an Airbnb house party that was attended by approximately 700 people.
Jackson Township homeowner Yaakov Weiss, 40, and party organizers Patience Guanue, 23, and Alicia Hinneh, 22, were each issued summons and have all been charged after police spent almost five fours shutting down the event.
According to a statement by Captain Steven Laskiewicz posted on the Jackson Police Department‘s Facebook page, the bust took place on Sunday at 8:30 p.m. when cops arrived at a house in the Whispering Hill neighborhood on report of a “suspicious incident.”
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Once they arrived at the scene, officials found out from neighbors that a house on the street had been rented out through Airbnb to host a party. Weiss confirmed to police that he was hosting a party, but said he left his residence “when an estimated 200 additional people arrived at the residence.” Laskiewicz said the mass gathering eventually grew to an estimated 700 people with over 100 vehicles parked in the area — well over Murphy’s order that all indoor gatherings must have fewer than 100 people.
Chaos reportedly ensued throughout the night: police went on to receive 911 calls from neighbors reporting disturbances and trespassing. One neighbor claimed that partygoers had broken into their home and were damaging property, but officials later discovered that one of the caller’s family members went to the party and invited the others inside.
Once authorities entered the residence, it took them — along with other police departments and the New Jersey State Police — until 1:00 a.m. to clear out the large crowd.
Gov. Murphy put Weiss, Guanue, Hinneh, and those who attended the party on blast during his COVID-19 news conference on Monday. He said:
“Come on folks! Come on. That’s needlessly putting men and women in uniform and their families at risk.”
Man, governors are getting FED UP!
Meanwhile, Ben Breit, a spokesperson for Airbnb, told CNN the online rental company removed the party organizers from its platform along with the listing for the rental property. The rep said in a statement:
“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.”
Sigh… why can’t people just play by the rules during an INTERNATIONAL HEALTH CRISIS?!
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