COOKE COUNTY, TX -- Postal Inspectors say a $10,000 dollar reward is on the table for anyone who can help track down the thief, or thieves, who are stealing mail from Cooke County residents.
Investigators say whoever is stealing the mail is after money, gift cards and blank checks. The Sheriffs Office is asking residents to keep a close eye on their mail in hopes of catching the thief -- or thieves -- red handed.
"Need to leave people's stuff alone. Get out and work for what you get," Cooke County resident Nancy Bailey said.
Nancy Bailey just received a flyer Friday warning her someone has been stealing mail in the area.
"Well mine usually runs about 12. So I'll just keep an eye on it," Bailey said.
Her neighbor David Clifton just heard the news too.
"What they didn't find appealing, or what didn't have any money in, they were throwing it away in the creek," Clifton said.
Cooke County Sheriff Terry Gilbert says mail has been taken from 12 boxes in Valley View and rural areas in the southeastern part of the county.
"Thieves work on convenience. What ever is convenient for them. You know, there's no rules it's just where they decided to target this time," Sheriff Gilbert said.
Sheriff Gilbert says so far there are no suspects, but he hopes that will change with help from Cooke County residents and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
"We're looking for that person who has, or that unknown car that is hanging around a mailbox that doesn't belong there, and it could be something as simple as someone following a rural carrier," Sheriff Gilbert said.
U.S. Postal Inspector Amanda McMurrey says stealing mail is a federal offense.
"Federal law provides a penalty of up to 5 years in prison per item stolen. So if someone steals 20 pieces of mail, theoretically, they could stand for up to 100 years in prison," McMurrey said.
Clifton says its just a matter of time before someone is behind bars for the crimes.
"They're going to get caught. I think its kind of like robbing a liquor store without having a mask on. You're going to get caught," Clifton said.
Investigators ask residents to collect their mail as soon as possible after delivery.
If you have any information about the mail thefts you can submit a report to the Cooke County Sheriffs Office at 940-665-3471 or online with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at: