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A Wedding Crasher Bandit Stole Thousands in Cash from Newlyweds, Police Say

A former cop in Arizona was arrested last week after being accused of pulling off a string of wedding reception burglaries throughout the Phoenix area

Last week, local authorities near Phoenix accused a retired sheriff of taking a few things that weren’t his — all while posing as a guest at weddings he wasn’t invited to.

On April 15th, Landon Earl Rankin, 54, allegedly arrived at a wedding dressed like everyone else in attendance. But when the opportunity presented itself, Rankin grabbed a box with wedding cards filled with notes of love and approximately $3,000 to $6,000 in cash and made his escape, police say. There were multiple people in the vicinity, but as you can see on the surveillance video below, no one acts to stop the wedding crasher because it appears as though no one actually saw the theft take place. 

Two weeks later, on April 30th, Rankin again attempted to burglarize a wedding reception in Chandler, Arizona, police claim. This time, he milled about and made small talk with the happy couple’s loved ones. Then, like a one-man Dollar Store version of Ocean’s 11, Rankin reportedly made his move. But his luck had run out. When he allegedly grabbed the box of wedding cards, he didn’t realize a camera was recording the whole thing. 

Rankin was busted by the Chandler Police on May 4th. After his arrest, Chandler PD issued a press release that indicated Rankin was suspected in a string of local wedding reception robberies. In total, police and local sheriff’s deputies say they have linked Rankin to 11 possible thefts of boxes of wedding cards from receptions in the area. One of his alleged victims, groom Michael O’Donnell, recalled Rankin arriving at his wedding reception: “He came looking like the perfect wedding guest — dressed, button-down, tie, slacks. As we were all seated for the wedding, he picked up the box with every single present and walked out.”

An investigating officer, Sgt. Jason McClimans of the Chandler Police, also had words for the suspect: “He victimized couples on the most celebrated day of their lives, joyful day, and he victimized them and their guests, and we’re glad to bring justice to Rankin for these victims.”

As for his possible motive, Rankin told the arresting officers he attended the weddings because he just wanted to hear the couple speak aloud their vows. He explained to detectives that he did that “because he was going through a divorce.” But when Rankin was arrested, cops also discovered he had methamphetamine and fentanyl on him. He now faces multiple counts of burglary, along with the two counts of drug possession. 

Contrary to what you may think, former cops don’t always make good criminals. And sometimes, they make for truly terrible wedding guests.