HOWELL TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Police broke up another large house party in New Jersey over the weekend.
As CBS2’s Nick Caloway reported Monday, as many as 500 people were there.
Instagram videos set the scene Sunday at a backyard pool party in Howell. Police said there were hundreds in the yard and large groups gathered on streets and sidewalks near the property. Cars lined the residential streets.
On Monday morning, Chopper 2 was over the scene and showed clean-up day at the home on Wilson Drive. The last of almost a dozen poolside cabanas were taken down and loaded into a party rental truck.
“Not something that was planned yesterday morning, I’ll tell you that. It was very elaborate,” said Howell Police Sgt. Christian Antunez.
Social media flyers for the for-profit event featured a bikini-clad woman. The party drew as many as 500 people at one point, police said.
The homeowners charged $30-$50 for admission and some guests paid $650 to rent those cabanas, police said.
One neighbor told Caloway it looked like fun.
“People want to get out whenever they can, and they see a party online, that’s their chance to get out,” Mekai Gandy said.
But others in this quiet neighborhood said, in the middle of a pandemic, now is not the time to party.
“I just don’t think it’s very responsible right now,” Rachel Molineux said.
“That didn’t seem like it was too safe a thing to do,” Tom Semplenski added.
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Neighbors said the homeowners throw a party like this every year. Police said, normally, that’s not a problem.
“The problem is, now, during this time with the pandemic and executive order, they were in violation of the executive orders. So that’s what we had to enforce,” Sgt. Antunez said.
Gov. Phil Murphy has been highly critical of those hosting house parties, which he largely blames for recent upticks in coronavirus cases. The governor addressed this particular party at his Monday press briefing.
“C’mon man! This can’t go on,” Murphy said.
The crowd dispersed peacefully after police from eight different agencies responded Sunday.
The homeowner, 37-year-old Ronald Chatman, was charged with two counts of disorderly persons, for hosting the party without social distancing.
He did not answer when Caloway knocked on his door.
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