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Chandler Makeup Thief -- A.K.A. "Blue Basket Bandit" -- Busted, Police Say

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They got him.

"The Blue Basket Bandit," who police say is responsible for wreaking havoc on makeup aisles at several Chandler-area pharmacies, has been arrested, police say.

The alleged culprit: 34-year-old Phoenix resident Anthony R. Hamilton.

Chandler police Detective David Ramer tells New Times that multiple tips from several people who recognized Hamilton from surveillance photos led to the arrest.

Back in August, we reported that Chandler was facing a couple problems. First: Someone was going around stealing makeup from local cosmetics stores. Second: Police suspected it was a middle-aged man.

For nearly three years, police say Hamilton would go to several Chandler-area Walgreens drug stores and steal makeup using a blue basket to gather his score -- hence the lame moniker.

The then-unknown bandit would walk into the stores, head right for the cosmetics section, walk around for a while, pick out a blush, and put it in the basket.

He would then put the items in Walgreen's bags he had stashed in his pockets and simply walk out of the store.

The bandit went dormant for about six months after the fuzz turned up the heat back in August, but the lipstick-looter struck again in December.

Ramer says the dollar amount of the makeup Hamilton stole is unclear -- Walgreens management is claiming it was about $25,000 worth, but the detective working the case estimates the amount to be more in the ball park of $5,000.

Hamilton was arrested at his home in the 1000 East Block of Durango Street in Phoenix.

He was booked into a Maricopa County jail on counts of organized retail theft, a class four felony and shoplifting.

The only question remaining: Why the hell was a middle-aged man stealing thousands of dollars worth of makeup (allegedly, of course)?

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