An overjoyed thief will spend Christmas with his family for the first time in decades after he avoided being incarcerated on Wednesday.
Anthony Humphrey, 49, was arrested earlier that day after a police search warrant uncovered a stolen mountain bike in the man's possession at a Warrnambool property.
He pleaded guilty to theft, as well as breaching a family violence intervention order and committing an indictable offence while on bail.
The court heard Humphrey was released on appeal bail on November 26 this year after being sentenced to a term of imprisonment in a Portland court.
Then on December 16, he stole a hybrid mountain bike and other related gear, including a helmet and lights, from outside a business in Lava Street.
The victim left work to find the items, which totalled more than $1000, were gone.
Police were notified and Humphrey was caught on CCTV stealing the bike from near a bin at the rear of the victim's place of work.
The search warrant conducted at a Warrnambool address on Wednesday uncovered the stolen bike and some of the gear.
Humphrey was arrested at the property and found to be in breach of a family violence intervention order.
Lawyer Vivian Kenny said the breach was at "the lower end of the scale" and that the theft was opportunistic.
He said Humphrey walked past the bike, noticed it was not locked and took it.
"He does regret his actions and understands the disruption it would have caused this person."
Magistrate Mark Stratmann said the offending was appalling.
"The impact this (theft) has on the community is that people start trusting a lot less," he said.
"I don't regard these matters as simple at all and I'm pretty unimpressed that you're back before the court. You've opportunistically taken something of great value to someone, all while you're on appeal bail.
"You do enormous damage to the community you live in where now everyone feels the need to get a bigger lock on their bike."
Mr Kenney said the man had a very disadvantaged upbringing but was actively taking steps to rehabilitate himself.
The magistrate said he initially thought Humphrey was a man who would not see Christmas this year.
"You are at risk at going to jail but today I'm not going to put you in prison".
Humphrey was convicted, placed on a six-month correction order and released from custody.
He told the court it was the first time he'd be out of jail to see his family for Christmas in decades.
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