A former Arizona sheriff’s deputy has been arrested, accused of crashing weddings and dashing out with card boxes holding thousands of dollars.
Police say Landon Earl Rankin, 54, may be behind nearly a dozen wedding card box thefts in the East Valley.
Rankin was arrested Wednesday and booked into the Maricopa County Jail on two counts of third-degree burglary stemming from two April incidents, the Chandler Police Department said in a news release. He was also hit with several drug charges after he was found in possession of methamphetamine and fentanyl during his arrest, police said.
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.
Investigators later learned of a similar wedding card box theft in nearby Pinal County, where Rankin was previously employed as a deputy with the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office from 1994 until his retirement in 2015. He remained a reserve officer until 2017, spokesperson Lauren Reimer told NBC News.
In the Pinal County case, Rankin was arrested and charged, according to authorities.
After reviewing surveillance video from the Chandler cases, Rankin was identified as the suspect.
Chandler police released surveillance images showing Rankin in his wedding outfit of a button-down shirt and khaki pants holding what appears to be a wedding card box covered in a plastic bag.
The department learned that Rankin may have been crashing weddings and stealing from them in several towns, as he was considered a suspect in similar investigations in Mesa and Gilbert, the news release stated.
“After Rankin’s arrest, police connected him to eleven incidents of wedding card box thefts in the east valley. Chandler police continue to investigate and contact victims in these cases," the release said.
Lawyer information for Rankin was not immediately available.
He remains in jail without bond, The Associated Press reported.