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If you've tried and failed to snag the latest Cupertinian shiny-shiny – aka the iPad 2 – perhaps the reason is not merely the herd of legitimate iPad purchasers crowding Apple's retail stores. Perhaps you've been outmaneuvered by what the New York Post has labeled "iPad cads".

"A cutthroat Asian group has set its crosshairs on the flagship Apple store on Fifth Avenue at 59th," the Big Apple rag reported on Wednesday, adding that the cabal is "scoring nearly every iPad 2 it can get its hands [on] since the hot gizmo went on sale last week, to re-peddle at exorbitant prices here and in China."

According to the Post, the iPad plundering is orchestrated by a "ringleader [who was] doling out massive wads of $100 bills to about five cohorts," who then distributed the cash to "about 200 Asians outside the store and around the corner." Those confederates then entered the store, bought their two-iPads-per-person limit, and handed them back to the gang – presumably for a wee bit of financial consideration.

When a Post reporter asked an iPad cad how much he wanted for a top-of-the-line tablet, which retails for $829, "one of the rogues demanded more than twice what it was just bought for – $1,700."

That was apparently too low for the ringleader, who "jumped in – and said it would be 'best if you bring $2,000'."

He also noted that "The ones we bought today are already on their way to China. It's been pretty crazy."

Here in San Francisco, no such nefarious scheme was in evidence at Apple's downtown store. However, after all of its iPad 2s sold out on Sunday, the next shipment was due to go on sale Tuesday morning – and a line of prospective purchasers snaked down and around the block well before the store's 9am opening.

Most of those who queued up went away empty-handed as the supply quickly evaporated. As one store employee told this reporter on Monday: "Tuesday we open at 9, and by 9:01 they'll all be gone." He was exaggerating – though not by much.

According to an analyst with Ticonderoga Securities, "Our field checks over the weekend indicate that the iPad 2 sold out at every Apple and non-Apple store we contacted." The Reg's multiple phone calls to San Francisco Bay Area stores support his assessment.

Reuters reports that the consensus among analysts is that Apple sold around one million iPad 2s during its inaugural weekend.

There's no word, however, about exactly how many of those fondleslabs are winging their way to China at this very moment. ®

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