NJ police charge three after 700-person party at Airbnb rental
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New Jersey police charged three people after breaking up a more-than-700-person party at an Airbnb rental on Sunday night. 

The Jackson Police Department charged a homeowner identified as Yaakov Weiss, 40, and two party organizers Patience Guanue, 23, and Alicia Hinneh, 22, after spending almost five hours shutting down the event.  

Capt. Steven Laskiewicz said in a statement posted on Facebook that the party attracted more than 700 people with more than 100 vehicles parked in the area, violating statewide coronavirus restrictions. 

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Officers first responded to the neighborhood at about 8:30 p.m. after a “suspicious incident” and were told by local residents that a group had rented a house to host the party.

Police contacted Weiss, who said he rented out the home, was hosting a large party and left when “an estimated 200 additional people arrived at the residence.”  

The department continued to receive 911 calls from nearby homeowners who said there were “disturbances and trespassing.” One caller said partygoers had broken into their home and were damaging property, but police later determined one of the caller’s family members had attended the party and invited the others inside. 

"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.

“It took until approximately 1:00 am for the officers to clear the residences of the party attendees and all of the vehicles from the neighborhood without any further incidents,” the statement added. 

Officers from various police departments and the New Jersey State Police assisted in clearing the party and directing traffic from the neighborhood.

The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office was contacted to pursue charges against Weiss and the party organizers for violating the governor’s executive order on gatherings. New Jersey currently mandates that all outdoor gatherings be less than 500 people and indoor gatherings have fewer than 100 people.

An Airbnb spokesperson told The Hill the company is in contact with the city, has removed the publicly identified party organizers from the platform and has deactivated the listing until further 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," the spokesperson said in a statement.

In April, Airbnb banned gatherings that violate local public health mandates. 

New Jersey was one of the first states to be hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. It has recorded 179,812 cases since the beginning of the pandemic and 13,884 deaths, according to state data

Ocean County, where the party was held, has counted 10,238 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 942 confirmed deaths. 

—Updated at 8:14 p.m.