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iPhone Scheme in California Leads to Chaos

An overnight campout for the new iPhone turned chaotic Friday morning when two men were arrested for fighting outside an Apple Store and a man’s plan to hire homeless people to wait in line for the coveted devices backfired, authorities said.

The lineup for the iPhone 5 at the Apple Store inside the Quakerbridge Mall in Lawrence
The lineup for the iPhone 5 at the Apple Store inside the Quakerbridge Mall in Lawrence (Dan Alexander, Townsquare Media NJ)

Dozens of people recruited at a downtown Los Angeles homeless shelter to buy iPhones at a Pasadena store were left unpaid, and they mobbed the man who had hired them, Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said.

One of the homeless men was placed on a 72-hour mental health hold after running into the street in an enraged state, Clawson said. Television news footage showed police breaking up several scuffles and calming down furious customers.

Dominoe Moody, 43, told the Los Angeles Times he was driven the 10 miles or so to Pasadena from Los Angeles with several vanloads of people to wait in line overnight.

Moody was promised $40 but said he wasn’t paid because after handing the man an iPhone, the man was escorted away by police when people became angry with him.

“It didn’t go right. I stood out here all night,” Moody told the newspaper, adding that he has no way to get back to Los Angeles.

The would-be entrepreneur, whose name was not released, was clutching a single bag stuffed with iPhones when he was escorted into a police cruiser and driven away at around 9:30 a.m.

The man did nothing illegal, and police were not investigating the incident, Clawson said.

Most of the people recruited to wait in line weren’t paid by the man, Moody said, estimating that he had brought 70 to 80 people to the store.

In a separate incident hours earlier at the same store, two men were arrested after getting into a fistfight while in line along Colorado Boulevard.

George Westbrook, 23, of Compton, and Lamar Mitchell, 43, of Pasadena, were cited for fighting in public, a misdemeanor, Clawson said.

No significant injuries were reported.

Police estimated that at least 200 people were on the sidewalk outside the store overnight. Some had been there for several days. The store hired two Pasadena police officers to control the crowd, Clawson said.

Apple’s new iPhone models, the 5S and 5C, were released worldwide Friday.

Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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