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Ex-MP is said to have posed as a wedding guest to steal gifts

CHANDLER, Ariz. – A retired sheriff’s deputy posed as a guest at two Phoenix-area weddings to steal card boxes worth thousands of dollars and is being investigated for a series of similar crimes, authorities said Friday.

Landon Earl Rankin, 54, was arrested Wednesday in the April robberies and was being held without bail, according to Chandler police, court and prison records.

According to police, the two stolen boxes of wedding cards contained between $3,000 and $6,000 each.

Rankin was a deputy in the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office and joined the agency in 1994. He retired in 2015 but remained a reserve officer until 2017, office spokeswoman Lauren Reimer said.

Rankin was jailed on suspicion of two burglaries. He was also charged with multiple counts of drug possession and drug paraphernalia because he was carrying amphetamine and fentanyl when he was arrested, police said.

The court records did not list an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

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Surveillance video from one of the Chandler wedding venues showed Rankin grabbing the gift box, putting it in a bag, walking out the back door of the venue, running to his vehicle and driving away, police said in a probable cause statement.

When questioned by police, Rankin said he attended the weddings to hear the vows “because he was getting divorced,” the statement said.

During their investigation into the two Chandler robberies, police learned of at least seven similar crimes in other Phoenix-area jurisdictions, said Sgt. Jason McClimans, a Chandler police spokesman.

Rankin is now being investigated in those cases, and Chandler Police have heard from “four or five” other newlywed couples about possible further thefts, McClimans said.

Police urged victims of such crimes to contact the appropriate law enforcement agencies.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/national/2022/05/06/ex-deputy-accused-of-posing-as-wedding-guest-to-steal-gifts/ Ex-MP is said to have posed as a wedding guest to steal gifts

Justin Scacco

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