Reports of people receiving unsolicited packets of seeds in the mail have cropped up around DeKalb County, and the DeKalb Police Department on Wednesday, along with the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDA), are directing residents on what to do with them.
"Most packages indicate originating in China and sometimes indicate that a different item is in the package," said a statement released by DeKalb Police.
The IDA released a similar statement, and said anyone who receives unordered seeds in the mail should contact the Illinois Department of Agriculture by emailing the following information to agr.seeds@Illinois.gov: first and last name, phone number and the number of packages received.
DeKalb police warn residents not to open or attempt to return the package, and not to open the seed package either, or plant or throw them away. Instead, keep the package and mailing envelope it came in sealed in a Ziploc bag or airtight container and keep it until further instructions for proper collection or disposal.
The IDA is working with USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to address reports of unsolicited shipments of seeds from foreign countries.
If you receive a package locally, you may also call the DeKalb Police Department at 815-748-8400, and officers will log your name, address and phone number to record the incident but will not assign an officer to respond.