By Leigh Martinez

COLOMA (CBS13) — An old gold mining town had its small post office burglarized and thieves got away with several letters and packages.

The foothills town of Coloma is home to only 200 people, and not many people come into town. In its heyday, explorers came hoping to strike gold.

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Last week, thieves instead struck post office boxes.

“When I checked my mail, there was a notice in there. They thought someone had been in the mailbox,” said Karl Ronning.

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The postal service says an undetermined number of letters and parcels were stolen on Nov. 19. It’s a burglary that puzzles many since holiday mail hasn’t started yet.

A postal employee says one unit was ripped out. It’s a federal felony to damage or break into a post office, and it’s also a federal felony to steal mail.

The postal service says the break-in is a priority investigation and the maximum penalty is a $250,000 fine and five years in prison.

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Not knowing what they’re missing, whether it’s bills or checks, has postal customers fearing what to expect from thieves.