A 28-year-old father who stole thousands of dollars worth of items from Ballarat retail stores has been jailed for his "premeditated and persistent" crime spree, which funded his drug habit.
David Becker, a long-term drug user was sentenced to two years' and one month imprisonment with a non-parole period of 14 months at the Ballarat Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.
With 158 days declared as time already served, the father-of-three boys will be eligible for parole in four to five months.
Becker pleaded guilty to 44 offences which occurred from September to January with some of those committed days after he was sentenced to time already served and released from prison on a four-year community correction order.
Magistrate Ron Saines told Becker he was charged with 20 counts of thefts, and although he was not charged with burglary, his crimes were premeditated which added to the seriousness of his offending.
The magistrate said Becker's offending was further aggravated because he was released on bail during the crime spree and then committed more offences.
Becker targeted businesses in the Ballarat region, including Aldi stores, IGA supermarkets, Officeworks, UFS Pharmacy, Kathmandu, Caltex service stations, BP service station, Mitre 10, Coles, Myer and Harris Scarff.
He walked into the stores and selected the items before walking or running back out.
On four occasions, Becker drove vehicles with false number plates during fuel drive-offs, while unlicensed, and on other occasions drove stolen vehicles.
He was arrested at a Warrambool motel on January 12 after he stole a $1200 security camera from the city's Harvey Norman store. Police found a small tin containing 1.58 grams of methamphetamine in Becker's pocket.
The magistrate said he must take into account the seriousness of Becker's offending for sentencing purposes.
"This was premeditated and planned offending, persistent course of conduct by you," Mr Saines said.
He said he was required to take into account denunciation, deterrence, punishment and rehabilitation but the protection of the public was the greatest importance.
"Because of these matters, there will be a greater emphasis of deterrence and punishment and protection of the public in sentencing," Mr Saines said.
He noted Becker had been in prison for his past two birthdays and his adolescent drug use had stunted his development and growth into an adult.
"Unless you accept you need professional help, then you will end up in prison," Mr Saines said.
Becker pleaded guilty to 44 charges, including theft from shops and service stations, unlicensed driving and possessing methamphetamine.
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