A former sheriff's deputy in Arizona has been accused of crashing weddings to steal cash gifts from the bride and the groom.
Landon Earl Rankin, 54, was arrested in connection with the theft of thousands of dollars from two ceremonies â but investigators believe he may have hit close to a dozen weddings.
Rankin Caught on Surveillance Cameras Stealing Cash, Gifts
According to a press release by the Chandler Police Department, Rankin first appeared on Chandler police's radar after attending a wedding reception dressed as a guest on April 15. While there, he stole a card box containing an estimated $3,000 to $6,000, authorities said.
He targeted another reception on April 30, making off with a card box containing the same estimated value of $3,000 to $6,000, Chandler police said. At both events, he fled the scene after stealing the card boxes.
Surveillance images from one of the heists shows Rankin grabbing the gift box, placing it in a plastic bag, walking out the venue's rear door, running to his vehicle and driving away, police said in a probable-cause statement.
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.
Rankin Claims He Went to Hear the Vows Because He Was Going Through a Divorce
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 stolen.
"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.