Police are warning residents to check their mail daily, especially during the holiday season when more people are buying Christmas presents online, after a string of recent mail thefts.

Strathcona County RCMP are currently investigating a number of package thefts in rural and urban areas of the county.

Police say thieves are likely targeting mailboxes during the holiday season because they expect many are ordering gifts online.

“It looks like the suspects are going to these boxes, usually in a secluded area, where they can avoid being detected, and they’re either prying open the doors or damaging the lock to get the door open and then taking out whatever parcel or package is inside,” said Cst. Wally Henry.

“It’s hit or miss for whether there’s a parcel there or not, it depends on any given day, but this time of year they know that there’s a better chance because there’s more mail traffic, more parcels being delivered.”

Parcel and package theft has been reported in southern, central and northern Strathcona County in recent weeks. Police are unclear if the hits are connected.

“Whether it was a group of individuals driving around haphazardly picking mailboxes, we don’t know at this point,” Henry said.

Henry is advising all residents to check their mail regularly – especially during the holidays.

“We’re really encouraging residents to do is to check their mailbox every day,” Henry said.

Strathcona County resident Blake McGrath hadn’t heard about the mailbox thefts until CTV News spoke to him.

He says learning of the parcel thefts put a recent situation into perspective.

“There was a guy in a pickup truck standing there with a screwdriver trying to get into a mailbox,” McGrath said.

“I just thought his mailbox was frozen.”

So whose at fault if a package is stolen?

Canada Post says when parcels are stolen, the company will reimburse if it gets a claim from the senders.

But that’s not always the case for missing mail.

Canada Post says legally, its responsibility ends when an item is delivered, so if something is stolen from someone’s doorstep, for example, it’s up to the sender to deal with it.

That same rule applies for damaged items.

FedEx says in some cases, its deliverers will leave a package outside in a place the driver deems safe. If the package is gone before you get home, it’s worth giving FedEx a call.

“Just give us a call. We’ve got a team that specializes in package security,” said James Anderson with FedEx.

“We will ensure the responsibility is placed where it is deserved and if it happens to be FedEx, you know we certainly do compensate customers.”

UPS says if a package is stolen off a doorstep, the customer can call the shipper to get a replacement item. If the shipper has concerns, they would then contact UPS directly.

December is often the busiest month for couriers.

Anderson says December 10 will be FedEx’s busiest delivery day in history – when the company expects to deliver 19 million packages worldwide on that day alone.

With files from Laura Lowe