A WOMAN who stole a car from a man while he slept has been given a chance to avoid more time in prison.
Samantha Douchatel, 33, appeared in the Bendigo Magistrates' Court last week where she pleaded guilty to charges including theft of a motor vehicle.
The court heard about 3am on December 8 last year, a woman left her car parked at the Bendigo Marketplace with the window open.
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About 6am, Douchatel was captured on CCTV footage entering the car via the open window.
The 33-year-old was seen rummaging inside the car before leaving with a remote control key and the victim's personal documents.
The victim returned to their car a couple of hours later and reported the thefts to police.
The court heard then on December 19, a man saw Douchatel standing near the Coles in Myers Street in Bendigo.
The pair started talking after Douchatel introduced herself as Stacey.
The man invited her back to his place and drove her to his home where they had a couple of drinks.
The court heard he fell asleep about 4am and Douchatel stole the keys to his car and drove off.
The vehicle was located in Goornong the next day. The car was locked and had its front and rear registration plates missing.
Detectives searched the car and found Douchatel's fingerprints.
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The court heard on April 3 this year, Douchatel went to an Echuca store and took 15 items of clothing and two pairs of sunglasses.
The 33-year-old concealed the items in the lining of her carry bag and left the store without paying.
Police arrested her about 30 minutes later after finding the items, which were valued at $774.76.
Defence lawyer Deniz Yildirim told the court Douchatel had been receiving treatment for her drug addiction while in custody.
Mr Yildirim said the 33-year-old had been deemed suitable for the ReStart program, which would help her with her addiction, mental health issues, and housing problems.
Magistrate Megan Aumair noted Douchatel had been in and out of custody for several years.
Ms Aumair said she would defer sentence to give the woman a chance to avoid more time in jail and instead receive a community corrections order.
"But if you breach bail, all bets are off," she said. "Work hard, try hard, and go well."
Douchatel was released from custody. She is due to return to the Bendigo Magistrates' Court next month.
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