MARINA, CA (KSWB) - A California entomologist who ordered 500 cockroaches for a study says she hopes the critters ran all over the thieves who swiped them from her mailbox.

Rosalinda Vizina, an entomologist who studies roaches, says her neighborhood in Marina, CA, has experienced an increase in mail theft recently.

"One of the 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,” Vizina said.

Police say the thieves were likely hoping to nab a tax return or W-2 form, which isn’t uncommon this time of year.

But these thieves got more than they bargained for: Vizina had ordered 500 live cockroaches.

The creatures were part of a study she’s conducting.

"I feel bad for the roaches if they got smushed or tossed or something like that. For the thieves, I hope they went everywhere,” Vizina said.

The post office says when sending and receiving valuable items, you should deliver or have the items delivered directly to the post office, you shouldn’t send cash in the mail and you should pick up your mail as quickly as possible.

"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 said.

Read more at KSWB's website.