He said that dozens of people recruited at a downtown Los Angeles homeless shelter to buy the iPhones were left unpaid, and they mobbed the man who had hired them. He was taken away in a police car for his own safety as he clutched a bag stuffed with iPhones.
"It didn't go right. I stood out here all night," Dominoe Moody, 43, told the Los Angeles Times. He said he was promised $40, but neither he nor most of the 70 to 80 people driven from downtown by the vanload got paid.
Television news footage showed police breaking up several scuffles and calming down furious customers.
The man with the plan, whose name was not released by police and who refused to identify himself when confronted by TV cameras at the scene, did nothing illegal, and there would be no police investigation of the incident, Clawson said.
One of the homeless men was placed on a 72-hour mental health hold after running into the street in an enraged state, Clawson said.