Mail thieves unknowingly steal 500 cockroaches

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(Source: CNN) (Source: CNN)

(CNN/Meredith) – Now that it's tax season, millions are waiting on their refunds, but according to Seaside Police in California, you might not be the only one waiting for your return.

They say it's not uncommon to see an increase in mail theft this time of year.

Marina resident Rosalinda Vizina says she's experienced it firsthand.

"One of these boxes had been left open. It looked like it was pried open. And all the mail was gone. So, the post office was telling us about the mailbox thieves that have been happening all the way down the street," she says.

She says several residents in her apartment complex and neighborhood have reported missing mail and packages.

And while the thieves were probably hoping to nab a tax return or W-2 form, they may have been stunned to find out what they walked away with.

"This particular time, I ordered cockroaches," says Vizina.

Five hundred live cockroaches, to be exact. Rosalinda says she's an entomologist and the roaches were a part of a study she's conducting.

"I feel bad for the roaches in case they got smushed or tossed or something like that. For the thieves, I hope they went everywhere."

The post office offers some advice when sending and receiving valuable items:

  • Have your items delivered directly to the office.
  • Don't send cash in the mail.
  • Pick up your mail as quickly as possible, especially this time of year.

For Vizina, she says she’s been keeping a very close eye on her mail.

"[I've] been checking my mail quite frequently with all the tax forms coming out, all that private information. I really don't want that to get taken in the meantime," Vizina says.

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