A BENDIGO magistrate has fined a man who stole alcohol after lamenting his "depressing" criminal history.
Stephen Moore, 24, appeared in the Bendigo Magistrates' Court last week where he pleaded guilty to charges of theft and unlicensed driving.
The court heard on January 3, Moore went to the Dan Murphy's store on Garsed Street in Bendigo.
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He collected a 12-pack of Woodstock Bourbon before grabbing another single can of alcohol.
A staff member confronted Moore when he tried to leave without paying. He returned one of the cans before continuing out of the store with the alcohol, valued at $21.
Police arrested Moore on Mitchell Street after the store contacted officers.
The court heard the 24-year-old told police he was going to an ATM to collect money so he could pay back the store.
The officers let Moore continue on but arrested him when they saw him walk in the opposite direction from the bank.
Moore also pleaded guilty to stealing petrol and driving while unlicensed in Creswick on July 12.
Defence lawyer Gregory Johnston told the court Moore had entered a guilty plea at the earliest opportunity after spending a night in custody.
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Mr Johnston said Moore had been mostly cooperative with police and the theft was a de-escalation from some of his more serious prior convictions, including robbery.
The defence lawyer said Moore had been couch-surfing between Ballarat and Bendigo, and there was a clear link between his homelessness and his offending.
Magistrate Patrick Southey said Moore had a "long, depressing" criminal history.
"It sounds like he's given up on life," Mr Southey said. "It's so depressing."
Mr Southey said he would take into account Moore's early guilty plea and give him a fine.
"You're still a young man," the magistrate said. "I hope you can make something of yourself. Please, please think about your life."
Mr Southey convicted and fined Moore $500, with one day in custody reckoned as served.
If Moore did not plead guilty, he would have been jailed for 14 days.
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