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Scuffles erupt outside California Apple store as new iPhones released

Customers purchase the iPhone 5s at the Apple retail store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York September 20, 2013. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
Customers purchase the iPhone 5s at the Apple retail store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York September 20, 2013. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

By Laila Kearney

(Reuters) - Scuffles erupted outside a Southern California Apple Inc store on Friday as fans waited in long lines for the latest versions of the iPhone on their first day available in stores, authorities said.

Two men among hundreds of people lined up for the iPhone 5S and 5C sold at the city of Pasadena's lone Apple store were arrested for fighting in public, Pasadena Police Lieutenant Jason Clawson said.

He could not say why the men, identified as George Westbrook, 23 of Compton, and Lamar Mitchell, 43 of Pasadena, were fighting.

In a separate incident outside the same store later in the morning, a man was detained for a 72-hour mental evaluation after arguing with another man he said paid him to keep his spot in line, Clawson said.

Two Pasadena police officers were hired by Apple to provide security outside the store on Friday and will remain in place throughout the day, Clawson said. Fans have stayed orderly since the second incident, he said.

The store began selling the highly anticipated iPhone 5S, starting at $199 with contract, and the 5C, from $99, at 8 a.m. local time. Apple fans have been camping out in front of the store since Monday for Friday's release of the new iPhones.

"Five days ago, the first guy was in line," Clawson said.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Tim Dobbyn)

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