Officers break up 2 massive parties, one home sustaining damage


CHATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Local law enforcement say they had to break up two massive parties over this past weekend.

The Columbia County Sheriff says one in the Town of Chatham, with an estimated 700 to 1,000 partygoers, spun out of control and resulted in an Airbnb in Columbia County getting trashed.

Neighbors Mary Dacunha and Mike Chakot, of Chatham, took cellphone video of the inside of the country home for the owner who they say is out of town but rents it out through Airbnb.

Mary says she knew something was up on Saturday night when hundreds of young people began walking up and parking along the narrow, shared driveway.

“It was like ‘The Walking Dead,'” she said. “They all had their cellphones with their flashlights on.”

Just about an hour before, Menands Police had also broken up another huge party. The police chief said the SUNY student homecoming party gained traction through social media.

NEWS 10 ABC’s Anya Tucker asked Columbia Sheriff David Bartlett if the students traveled to Chatham after police put a stop to the party in Menands.

“It’s hard to tell.”

At the time, Bartlett was conducting a drug raid miles away and said he became nervous when he heard some of his responding deputies over the scanner.

“I’m hearing a person got hit in the head with a beer bottle. I’m hearing there’s another fight at the top of the hill, and I don’t have enough police officers to contain it.”

Bartlett says he’s been in contact with UAlbany. Investigators are still trying to get to the bottom of who rented the Airbnb, but with so many people at the house, it will be nearly impossible to identify those responsible for all the damage.

The party has reignited the issue of Airbnbs in the Town of Chatham. Town Supervisor Maria Lull told NEWS10 a proposed law regarding short-term rentals would require owners to pull a special permit, and the town would have the ability to shut them down in the event of reoccurring problems.

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