PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. — Weddings are a special day for any couple, surrounded by friends and family, celebrating all things love until part of your day is stolen.
Several Valley couples that tied the knot had their wedding card boxes snatched by none than a former Pinal County Sheriff's Deputy who dressed as a guest and stole more than $10,000 from newlyweds.
Kacey and Tyler Lawhead got married in the East Valley back in March, falling in love and, unfortunately, falling victim to theft.
"It was honestly perfect. I was crying at the end because I didn't want it to end, but we did not realize until 10 p.m. the event ended that everything was gone," Kacey said.
Chandler police said 54-year-old Landon Earl Rankin was responsible for stealing multiple wedding card boxes around the Valley.
"He was dressed as a party-goer. He would act like a guest, come in, sign the guestbook, and then just pretend like he was dropping off a card but then actually take them," she added.
Rankin hit events in Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert, and Pinal County, raking in thousands of dollars
"The money is one thing, but just feeling violated and having your stuff taken from you is a whole other thing. I had a grandma that I didn't get to get the wedding card, which was heartbreaking. We had some people write scripture and some special gifts and super sentimental stuff within the card."
Kacey added Rankin's crime wasn't going to spoil their special day, but as for future couples, she does have some advice.
"Have somebody who is going to pick up the cards right after cocktail hour, something they just sit outside or sit in a place that isn't occupied anymore, so make sure you have a family member or bridesmaid put them in your suit or a car, somewhere where it's not just out."
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