UPDATE, Tuesday, 4.45pm: A Warrnambool thief regularly charged with stealing from shops, jailed and then released only to offend again has been remanded in custody.
Matthew Howarth, 22, of no fixed address in Warrnambool, pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court on Monday to five counts of theft.
He was remanded in custody until June 21 so treatment options can be fully examined.
Howarth has significant mental health issues and continually said in court that he had to get out of custody so he could save the universe.
Magistrate Mark Stratmann said the cycle of offending had to be broken and a detailed report was needed by the court to determine how to sentence Howarth.
Defence counsel Karin Temperley said her client stole items to swap for food, a bed or drugs and he had been threatened if he didn't steal he would be beaten up.
Monday: A habitual Warrnambool thief is back in police cells after going on a crime spree late last week.
Warrnambool police Sergeant James van Engelen said police officers would allege the 22-year-old man went to Warrnambool's Harris Scarfe store at the Homemaker Centre on the eastern outskirts of the city at 9.30am last Thursday.
"There he selected six items of men's clothing valued at $200. He left the store with his arms full and without paying," he said.
"At 12.40pm the same day he went to the fragrance section of the Chemist Warehouse at Gateway Plaza where he selected items valued at $284.90. He again left the store without paying.
"The offender then went to Liquorland at 6.40pm where he was captured on CCTV putting a one litre bottle of vodka and a 700ml bottle of vodka, valued at a combined $110, down his pants."
Sergeant van Engelen said at 11am on Friday the man went to Dan Murphy's.
"He selected two bottles of Jack Daniel's honey bourbon which he tried to conceal. A shop assistant unsuccessfully attempted to stop the man, who was known to staff. The bourbon was valued at $96," he said.
"At 4.15pm on Friday the man has gone back to Harris Scarfe. He went to the sports clothes section, selecting 10 items valued at $300.
"He was approached by a staff member and kept saying: 'the universe is in trouble, I need to save it'. He again left the store."
The police officer said the man was soon after arrested at a friend's home in Wanstead Street, where he was hiding behind a door.
Total value of the items stolen was $990.
The accused man was arrested, interviewed, charged with theft and remanded in custody to appear in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court on Tuesday for what is expected to be a bail/remand hearing.
He has been repeatedly jailed for thefts from Warrnambool retail outlets during the past 12 months and is well known to police officers and shopkeepers.