HARVARD, Ill. (STMW) – Police are warning rural McHenry County residents of several reported cases of mail being stolen or tampered with by thieves apparently looking for cash, gift cards or gifts.

The incidents, which have occurred mainly in the northwest areas of the county, involve one or more offenders looking through delivered mail in rural mailboxes, according to a release from the McHenry County Sheriff’s office.

READ MORE: 5 Killed, 16 Wounded In Weekend Shootings In Chicago

The offenders have stolen items from some mailboxes, and in other instances, have opened mail and gone through it, then resealed it with a sticker.

The sheriff’s office said cash, gift cards and personal identification information are the most likely targets of such thefts, and said mailboxes with red flags up are targeted most often.

READ MORE: 14-Year-Old Fatally Shot In West Garfield Park

Residents are advised to use Post Office boxes for delivery of Christmas items and postal drop boxes for dropping off mails. Cash and personal info should not be sent in cards, and all mail delivery should be stopped if you are away from home.

Anyone noticing any suspicious activity around mail boxes should report it to their local postmaster or police, or call Crime Stoppers of McHenry County at (800) 762-7867.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published,

MORE NEWS: Architect Helmut Jahn Killed In Bicycle Crash With Two Vehicles in Campton Hills

broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)