Three days after the iPhone 6’s much-anticipated release, tensions between customers in line at the Apple Store on 65 Broadway Ave. boiled over into a brawl on Monday morning.
At 9:55 a.m., officers from the Yale and New Haven police departments arrived at the Apple Store after employees reported a fight amongst individuals outside the store. They soon found that the confrontation had developed into a large brawl involving more than a dozen people. Police arrested three individuals on charges of disorderly conduct, interfering with police and breach of peace. One man involved was treated for a minor cut on his forehead and has since been released from the hospital.
A 64-year-old woman, and two men ages 38 and 51, were arrested. The two men live in New York’s Chinatown neighborhood, while the woman resides in nearby Hamden, Conn.
Both departments have maintained a presence in the area since Apple released its latest iPhone model on Sept. 19. Simultaneously, stores nationwide began allowing customers to form lines for their turn to purchase the device. Before Monday’s incident, police had dealt with smaller disputes in the line outside the store, according to NHPD spokesman David Hartman.
“Store managers have phoned several times to report fights and ill-behaved line waiters,” Hartman said in a Monday release.
He added that police have received reports that the brawl was between two “rival groups” who both intended to purchase the phone in bulk in order to attempt to resell them to customers overseas at a high markup rate.
While American retailers have offered the iPhone 6 for prices roughly between $200 and $400, these groups demand between $3,000 and $4,000 per unit in countries like China, where the model is not currently sold.
“These rival groups have been challenging each other over their places in line,” Hartman said. “At times, these challenges have resulted in violence.”
On Monday night, members of the Yale Police Department and Yale Security were seen in the area, but they said that they had either been dispatched to handle matters unrelated to the morning’s incident or were simply on their normal patrol routes.
Of 15 students interviewed, only one said that they would wait more than five hours to purchase the latest brand of iPhone.
Chareeni Kurukulasuriya ’16 said that it might make sense for “die-hard” Apple fans to wait in line to be one of the first customers to purchase the new product, but thinks most students would be better off buying the phone from online retailers like Amazon. Indeed, she said two of her friends bought the new phone off of Amazon and received it on the official release date.
“I also can’t really imagine the line getting so long to the point that it would be necessary to camp out over night,” Kurukulasuriya said.
Demand for the phone has been exceedingly high across the globe. Apple announced on Monday that opening weekend sales reached record levels, with more than 10 million units sold worldwide.
“Sales for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus exceeded our expectations for the launch weekend, and we couldn’t be happier,” Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said in a Monday release. “While our team managed the manufacturing ramp better than ever before, we could have sold many more iPhones with greater supply and we are working hard to fill orders as quickly as possible.”
Store employees and a manager on duty at the New Haven location on Monday night declined comment.
The Broadway Apple Store is one of six in Connecticut.