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Woman buys 'new' iPad Air (full of someone else's stuff)

A Canadian woman believes she got a Black Friday bargain at Target, only to discover that her new iPad has hundreds of images and phone numbers already in it.

Wait, those aren't my pictures. CTV screenshot by Chris matyszczyk/CNET

The wise will always tell you that the minute a new car drives off the lot, it's a used car. But that car has probably been driven around a little already during test drives anyway, so why worry about this "new" thing?

Does this apply to, say, a new iPad Air? It comes sealed in a beautifully designed box. So you wouldn't think it would have hundreds of someone else's pictures on it, would you?

Yet Robin Crowley, a policewomen from Cambridge, Ontario, had a surprise when she opened up her brand-new Black Friday bargain iPad Air that she purchased at Target. She said she found contact lists and pictures already on it.

No, it's not that Apple just knew she would choose this particular iPad Air and downloaded her private information from Facebook. These pictures and other information appeared to belong to someone who wasn't her.

"Hundreds of pictures of friends and family" were already on the iPad Air, Crowley told CTV. "A complete schedule that was on the calendar there. There was three pages of apps that she had obviously added."

"Obviously" is a difficult word here.

Crowley made the assumption that this iPad belonged to another real human being. However, she also noted that the label on the box said "demo."

It's possible, then, that this apparent information was preloaded by Apple onto a demo device for Target, and the store somehow sold it to an unsuspecting customer.

Apple has yet to comment on this strange occurrence, but Target told CTV: "The privacy of our guests is of paramount importance and this is the first time we have heard of this type of event. We are investigating it with our partners at Apple and are happy to keep you posted as we learn more."

Crowley insists she wants a brand-new iPad Air, one that has traditional features like a setup screen and no pictures of strange people on it.

Speaking of her disappointing purchase, she said: "If it got into the wrong hands that could be dangerous."

Crowley knows dangerous. She is not a woman to be messed with. She works for the Waterloo Regional Police.

However, not every new iPad you buy in a store is a new iPad. Recently, a man in the UK bought what he thought was a new iPad in a Tesco store, only to discover that the box contained just a few pieces of clay. (Oddly enough, Canadians are suspects in this crime too.)

This man, Colin Marsh, was actually put in jail for a little while, because neither the store nor police believed his story. Let's hope that when Crowley went back to Target and explained her situation, she was well received.

So remember, holiday shoppers. It's always worth opening the box before you leave the store.

Just in case your bargain is slightly less of a bargain than you bargained for.

Update, 9:51 a.m. PT: Target has now offered a further explanation. It reads: "At Target the privacy of our guests is of paramount importance. We looked into the matter and determined that a guest was mistakenly sold an unopened demo unit filled with demo content and no personal information was shared. We are working with our store sales teams to reinforce protocols in this regard." Not known is how the demo iPad Air appeared on the shelves.