POLICE have warned residents in small towns around Gladstone to be on the lookout for anyone out of the ordinary.

The warning comes as two men are on the run after taking to an ATM with a grinder while breaking into three shops and stealing thousands in cash and jewellery in Theodore.

"If someone... doesn't look right, give us a call and let us do the follow-up," Acting Inspector, Detective Senior Sergeant Luke Peachey, said.

"You know who (the local) people are," he said.

Theodore resident and owner of Central Queensland Scopes, Paul Fowkes, said there hadn't been anything like this in his town for several years.

"It's a timely reminder to (other shopkeepers) improve your security systems," he said.

"It appears (the thieves) have targeted stores without cameras and good security systems.

"Every now and then people come into a small town and take advantage like this."

The two men reportedly broke into three shops by jemmying doors and windows on Wednesday morning between midnight-4am.

At the Theodore IGA they stole cash from the till, used a grinder to take about $500 from an ATM, and stole cigarettes and prepaid phones.

They took more than $600 in cash and jewellery containers from another two shops.

Det Snr Sgt Peachey said the crimes were similar to break and enters that had occurred in Miriam Vale on December 21, 2014, and Wowan on February 7.

"It appears these offenders have targeted rural townships," he said.