WEEKLY EXCLUSIVE: Crossed signals

WEEKLY EXCLUSIVE: Crossed signals

Pasadena police step in to protect man who failed to pay homeless people to buy iPhone5s

By André Coleman 09/20/2013

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A man who was among up to 80 homeless people brought to the Apple Store in Old Pasadena to buy newly released iPhones was being detained on a psychiatric hold after attempting to jump into traffic early Friday morning, police said.

The distraught man had apparently not been paid by an unidentified man who brought him to Pasadena by bus in order to buy the new devices, which police said he hoped to resell for a profit.

Police did not identify either the man who paid to have the homeless people brought to Pasadena or the man who started screamed after learning he would not be paid and jumped into traffic.

“The subject hired a bunch of people we were told are homeless to buy multiple phones,” explained Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson. “They were not able to buy the phones once they got in the store and they demanded payment.”

The Apple Store has a policy of selling only two phones per transaction. It was unknown how many phones, which retail for about $200, the homeless people intended to buy, or where the unidentified man planned to sell them.

“The subject refused to pay him after they did not get the phones and [other homeless people] began to surround him,” Clawson said of the scene that developed outside the store on Colorado Boulevard.
“We escorted him out of the area,” Clawson said.

According to ABC News and other media outlets, the homeless men were hired on skid row in Los Angeles and told to be in Pasadena when the store opened at 9 a.m. There they joined more than 200 people already at the store, some of whom camped out overnight.

Two off-duty Pasadena police officers hired by Apple to handle security for the event started patrolling the area at 3 a.m. Friday, said Clawson.

After not getting paid, a man who had spent hours standing in line began screaming and tried to run into the street. He was placed on a “5150” psychiatric hold, so named for the state Welfare and Institutions Code section that allows authorities to detain those considered to be a danger to themselves or others for up to 72 hours.

In addition to that incident, two other men were briefly detained by police for fighting in line.

George Westbrook, 23, of Compton, and 43-year-old Lamar Mitchell Pasadena were cited and released.

“Nothing usually happens when we have service lines like this,” Clawson told the Weekly.

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Seeing as how cell phones are very popular among the remotely-detonated bomb-making crowd, I wonder if any kind of investigation was/is being made of this nameless grifter-wannabe who was looking to create a substantial stockpile of burn phones?

Also, why not release his name to the general population who then may be able to identify him as somebody they've also been swindled by?

When this kind of hidden-name circumstance happens, it makes me feel that -- just maybe -- the perp was actually working (for some covert reason) WITH the cops ... after all, when the plan went sour, they sure protected his ass.


posted by DanD on 9/20/13 @ 10:14 p.m.
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