Transients Hired to Buy New iPhone Fight After Being Denied Pay, Police Say

By Willian Avila and Mekahlo Medina
|  Friday, Sep 20, 2013  |  Updated 2:43 PM PDT
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Transients Fight After Being Denied New iPhone: Police

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NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: A customer tries out the Apple iPhone 5 inside the Apple Fifth Avenue flagship store on the first morning it went on sale on September 21, 2012 in New York City. Customers lined up for days to purchase the hotly anticipated device which went on sale nationwide today. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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Two fights broke out at the Pasadena Apple Store Friday morning after police say several homeless men who were hired to stand in line for the release of the new iPhone were apparently not paid.

Two men were arrested in front of the Colorado Boulevard store about 7:30 a.m. after getting into a fistfight that spilled into the street, police said. They were issued misdemeanor citations.

A third man was also taken into custody. Police said he was placed on a 72-hour mental health hold after running into a moving vehicle.

Police said a man hired the transients from downtown Los Angeles in a plan to buy several iPhones and resell them on the black market. When Apple employees found out, they denied the transients iPhones. The man refused to pay the homeless people he hired, and that apparently triggered outrage.

"The people that were with him started to rush around him and started an argument," said Pasadena Police Lt. Jason Clawson. "We basically drove him around the corner to prevent any further altercations."

Clawson said hiring the transients to stand in line was not illegal, and that there "appeared to be dozens" of them in line.

Several officers stood watch outside the store through the afternoon. The line remained long three hours after the store opened.

Five to 8 million iPhones were expected to sell over the weekend.

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