A former sheriff’s deputy in Arizona has been accused of crashing weddings to steal cash gifts from the bride and groom.
Landon Earl Rankin, 54, was arrested in connection with the theft of thousands of dollars from two ceremonies — but investigators believe he may have hit as many as 11.
According to Chandler Police Department, Rankin attended two wedding receptions on April 15 and April 30, “dressed as a guest”, despite being invited to neither.
At both venues, he stole the wedding card box — each containing between $3,000 and $6,000 in cash — before fleeing the scene, authorities said.
Video surveillance from one of the heists shows Rankin grabbing the gift box, placing it in a bag, walking out the venue’s rear door, running to his vehicle and driving away, police said in a probable-cause statement, per AP.
Rankin was arrested on May 4, and charged with two counts of 3rd-degree burglary, as well as a number of drug possession charges, having been found with methamphetamine and fentanyl, police said.
During their investigation, police learned that other recent weddings in Pinal County, the City of Mesa and the Town of Gilbert had also had their gift boxes pinched — and Rankin was the suspect.
“After Rankin’s arrest, police connected him to eleven incidents of wedding card box thefts in the east valley,” Chandler PD said.
While being interviewed by detectives, Rankin claimed he had gone to all the random weddings to hear the marital vows “because he was going through a divorce.”
Police have asked for any other possible wedding day victims to come forward.
Rankin was a deputy with the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office from 1994 until his retirement in 2015, although he remained on as a reserve officer for two more years.