An illegal pop-up party in Wayne was beginning to heat up when an army of police suddenly burst in.
A total of 47 party-goers were temporarily taken into custody after New Jersey State Police spotted advertisements posted by the organizers on social media and tipped off Wayne Police Chief Jack McNiff.
Nearly 500 guests were expected at the Saturday night bash in a vacant commercial building near the Willowbrook Mall, but police pulled the plug before that could happen, Detective Capt. Dan Daly said.
Detectives who had eyes on the building before the scheduled start time watched several people enter through doors that had been previously forced open, the captain said Monday.
As soon as it was determined the crowd could become too big to control, the throng of law enforcement officers converged on the building and moved in, he said.
They found “substantial damage to the building and numerous spray painted directional signs for partygoers,” Daly said.
Several partiers fled as others were seized, witnesses said.
One of those detained -- Alejandro Perea Torres, 20, of East Orange – was turned over to East Orange police after a robbery warrant was discovered, Daly said.
The rest were released pending the results of an ongoing investigation, the captain said.
“Charges are pending against all involved,” he said.
The property manager securely boarded up the building and Wayne police “will conduct frequent checks to prevent a recurrence of this activity,” Daly said.
Detective Capt. Joseph Rooney was the incident commander. Detective Lt. Vincent Ricciardelli organized township investigators, while Lt. First Class Robert Franco assembled uniformed support.
Also responding were Passaic County sheriff’s officers and Fairfield and Little Falls police, whom Daly thanked.
“This type of destructive, illegal behavior will not be tolerated within Wayne Township,” the captain said. “Whenever possible, the Wayne Police Department will seek to criminally charge anyone involved in similar incidents.”
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