After we'd heard numerous reports that many Verizon, Best Buy, and Radio Shack locations already had the elusive LTE Samsung Galaxy Nexus in stock, it was inevitable that consumers would do their level-best to try to buy it ahead of the scheduled launch date — currently rumored to be December 15th. Today, some lucky individuals were able to do just that. Droid Life has posted images from a reader that claims to have picked up a unit from a Verizon retail store, while Google+ user Dave Fayram bought his new phone at a Best Buy. There appears to have been some confusion at Best Buy locations today, with both the store Fayram visited and another we spoke with confirming that they were a go for sales this morning. Other locations continued to state that the device was not yet released and would simply be available "soon."

The phone was priced at $299.99 on-contract as expected, and screenshots indicate it comes with at least three different Verizon apps pre-loaded: the My Verizon Mobile account management tool, Verizon Login, and VZ Backup Assistant (of course, thanks to Ice Cream Sandwich, all three can be easily disabled). With Big Red still refusing to make an official announcement, no doubt many more will try to "encourage" retail employees to sell the phone early. If you're so inclined, please be aware that Verizon doesn't take pre-launch sales lightly when it comes to employees and retailers, so if you're denied it's better to commisserate with your local representatives than berate them. While we'd like to say an official launch date will be announced soon, unfortunately neither Verizon nor its retail partners are offering any new information at this time.