Two people have been arrested in scuffles outside an Apple store in California, as fans scrambled to get their hands on the new iPhone 5S and 5C handsets.
Tempers flared after a group of homeless people were bussed in by an enterprising businessman to buy more of the coveted phones, but were then not paid for queuing up all night.
A fight broke out shortly before 7.30am, and officers struggled to break up the ruckus, said police spokesman Jason Clawson in Pasadena, north of downtown Los Angeles.
Two men were cited for ‘‘public fighting’’, he said. Neither of them was hurt.
Tensions were fuelled by a ruse in which some 70-80 homeless people were bussed in from downtown LA, about 16km away, to spend the night waiting in line outside the Pasadena store, said Mr Clawson.
But some began fighting because they said they weren’t getting paid enough, the police spokesman said.
One of them, Dominoe Moody, said he was promised $US40 ($A42.61) to stand in line and buy an iPhone, after being bussed from a homeless hostel with several van loads of people, the newspaper reported.
The 43-year-old said he wasn’t paid because the man was taken away by police.
‘‘It didn’t go right. I stood out here all night,’’ he told the newspaper, adding that he had no way to get home.
The man behind the ruse, who did not give his name, denied he was doing anything illegal.
‘‘The phones are for me. I have a company that resells the phones for a higher profit,’’ he told reporters.
‘‘It’s not against the law to buy them, I’m buying them at full retail price,’’ he added, saying he sold them overseas for more than $1000 each.
Vivian Fields, 49, said: ‘‘They need to bring him back ... to pick up the people that he brought here,’’ adding: ‘‘We have no way to get home.’’
Police were not investigating the incident, Mr Clawson said, explaining: ‘‘It’s not a police issue. It’s a business issue.’'