Scheme to Pay Homeless to Buy iPhones Misfires

When his plan unravels, police have to get businessman out safely

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 21, 2013 6:45 AM CDT

(Newser) – The long line snaking outside the Apple store in Pasadena yesterday sure looked impressive, but it turns out that dozens of the supposed Apple devotees were actually homeless people hired to buy new iPhones for an enterprising businessman, reports USA Today. It might have worked, too, had the businessman not started bragging about his strategy while in line, reports the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. Apple employees soon got wind of it and and stopped selling to the hired hands, who then turned their anger on the businessman because they weren't getting their promised money. Police had to escort him out of there for his own safety.

“It didn’t go right. I stood out here all night,” one 43-year-old homeless man who was promised $40 tells the LA Times. He estimates that the unidentified businessman recruited about 80 people from a homeless shelter in Los Angeles and drove them to the Pasadena store. Maybe the worst part is that once police got the man out of there—the AP reports that he was clutching a bag full of phones at the time—the homeless were stranded. "We have no way to get home," says one woman. Police made no arrests in the matter because "it's a business issue," says a spokesperson.

A police officer guards the entrance of the Apple store as customers wait in line in Pasadena.
A police officer guards the entrance of the Apple store as customers wait in line in Pasadena.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
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