A man found sleeping inside a car that went missing over Christmas has pleaded guilty to theft of a motor vehicle, but says he did not take it from where it was reported stolen.
The 35-year-old appeared in Bendigo Magistrates’ Court yesterday, after being arrested early in the morning.
The court heard police found the man asleep in the stolen Suzuki Grand Vitara at Lake Weeroona about 4.55am yesterday.
The vehicle was reported as having been stolen from Queen Street between 10.30pm on Christmas Eve and 7am Christmas Day.
When the vehicle was taken, it contained a number of Christmas gifts, some of which were missing when the vehicle was recovered.
The man charged over the theft of the vehicle told the police he did not steal it from Queen Street, but found it in Hargreaves Street early yesterday morning.
The man told police he found it with the keys in it and the door ajar, and thought it was strange, but decided to take it for a drive.
He also pleaded guilty to unlicensed driving, telling police he did this “because I’m an idiot”.
The court heard the man was placed on a community corrections order on December 22 for mostly dishonesty offences.
Duty lawyer Jacob Mildren told the court the man had an addiction to methamphetamine, and that had led to his offending.
He said the man had moved to Bendigo several years ago to take care of his grandmother, but she had recently moved into a residential facility and he was now at “a bit of a loose end”.
Mr Mildren submitted a non-custodial sentence was appropriate, or if not, a short term of imprisonment, as well as treatment for the man.
Magistrate Sarah Leighfield adjourned sentencing the man to next month.
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