Customers expecting the new iPhone got more than they bargained for at the Brea mall Friday morning, as thousands of people pushed their way through to get their new gadgets as soon as the Apple store opened.
An estimated 3,500 people showed up at the Orange County mall, all hoping not to miss out on the store’s stock.
Police said they were concerned as early as 10 p.m. Thursday when they saw people showing up with sleeping bags. Customers were told to leave and not allowed on Brea mall property until 6 a.m.
That’s when the chaos began. As the line to get in line turned to a free-for-all, some customers realized it was no longer worth the trouble, saying they no longer even wanted the phone.
"When they rushed it, the line fell over," said customer David Dewyke. "It was a disaster … People got trampled on."
Kevin Shea said he saw shoes fly.
They "hit somebody in the face," he said.
Up to 32 officers from three agencies were called in to help control the crowd. There were no arrests, but the head of security at the Brea mall was cut on his face.
Mall officials said they were concerned about the safety of their customers, but would not answer questions about whether they had prepared for such a large crowd.
When the store opened, groups of people were led into the mall with an escort, to reach another line inside.
Friday afternoon, the line wove through the parking lot and around other stores.
Meanwhile, at the Pasadena Apple store, iPhone fanatics, some of whom had been waiting for five days to get their hands on the latest phone models, were overjoyed when they were finally able to do so.
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"iPhone 6 Plus baby," said Francisco Naranjo, who was first in line, having waited since Monday.
Both the Apple store and an AT&T store down the block in Pasadena sold out of their phones, about 500 and 100 respectively.
Unions in Silicon Valley have also been protesting Apple for what they say is a lack of hours for Apple security guards, as well as the negative impacts of tech companies in the area.
Apple has made no official response.