An Apple worker in Pasadena, Calif., addresses the crowd waiting to purchase new iPhones on Sept. 20, 2013.
(Photo: Walt Mancini, San Gabriel Valley Tribune/AP)
A businessman scheming to get his profit-minded hands on dozens of new iPhones allegedly recruited about 100 homeless people from Skid Row in Los Angeles to wait in line overnight at the Pasadena Apple Store, but many were left unpaid and stranded after his plan was exposed, local media reported Friday.
The unidentified reseller had offered $40 to each hired hand who bought an iPhone for him, which he bragged about to others in the line of about 200 people, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported. When they learned of the scheme, store personnel stopped selling the latest iPhone models to the homeless stand-ins.
Customers were limited to two phones per person.
STORY: Tight supply may crimp first-weekend iPhone sales
An agitated crowd surrounded the man when he announced he wouldn't pay anyone who had not bought a phone, and police officers had to escort him away - several new models in hand - for his protection about 9 a.m., Lt. Jason Clawson said.
He said Pasadena police were not investigating, calling it "a business issue."
The homeless - including at least one woman in a wheelchair - were brought to the store Thursday night in vans, participants told the Los Angeles Times.
"It didn't go right. I stood out here all night," said 43-year-old Dominoe Moody, one of several homeless people brought to the Pasadena store from a downtown mission, about 10 miles away.
He and others said they had no way to get back.
A man who identified himself only as Bobby told KTLA that he had recruited most of the transients from downtown L.A.
"Twenty bucks a ticket, feed them ... take care of them, make sure they're warm," hetold KTLA-TV.
Bobby's boss told reporters others were line-standing for him at other Apple Stores across in Southern California.
"Nothing illegal about that," Clawson said.
An altercation an hour earlier between two other customers in line was not legal, however.
The pair were arrested and charged with fighting.