Crab season is off to a strange start, with crustacean fever inspiring a major theft yesterday.

"A mysterious marauder (marauders?) made off with five cases of crab during a routine delivery," Beth Krauss of Whole Foods told SFist. "The crab was destined for our Market Street store, but fortunately our other SF stores were able to help out and send some of their product over to Market Street so all stores could continue selling crab."

It's a bit of a head-scratcher. At 7.99 a pound for Dungeness crab, it's a decent haul, but where do you offload a bunch of crab that "just fell off the truck?" Was it kept on ice? If anyone offers me some Dungeness in the next few days, I'm going to need to see a receipt.

The tip came from Twitter via Violet Blue, San Francisco author of The Smart Girl's Guide to Privacy and apparent Whole Foods shopper.

The best response: "b on the lookout 4 anyone with large vats of cocktail sauce."

Saturday was the first day of crab season for Bay Area fishermen, as the Chron reports, making this one of the first local shipments of the year. But the news with crab is good: Unlike some fisheries, our state's Dungeness crab population hasn't been depleted. What's more, a call to Whole Foods on Market Street confirms that plenty of the stuff is available today, despite the brigands.

Dungeness season goes through the spring, but the local Dungeness crab population gets pretty well exhausted by early January, meaning that any crab you see on menus after the new year is likely to come from the waters off Oregon or Alaska.