Jordan Thomson, 27, unemployed and of no fixed address, has now racked up 49 convictions for more than 100 offences, according to police.
Police said that on Monday (March 9), shortly before 3am, officers were called by a member of public who witnessed a man in dark clothing trying car doors in St Andrews Road, Worthing.
Officers arrived and found the suspect, Thomson, hiding behind a vehicle.
A search of Thomson's bag found a car stereo - which was confirmed stolen from a vehicle in the same road - and he was subsequently arrested and charged with theft from a vehicle.
Thomson was remanded in custody and appeared before Brighton Magistrates' Court on Tuesday (March 10), where he pleaded guilty.
He was also convicted of fur counts of committing a further offence while subject to a conditional discharge, relating to thefts of items including soft toys, aftershave, an electric toothbrush and dog biscuits from various retailers in Worthing over the past 12 months.
Due to his persistent offending, he was sentenced to 40 days’ imprisonment and ordered to pay a £122 victim surcharge, police said.
Inspector Allan Lowe, of the Adur and Worthing Prevention Team, said: “I’d like to remind motorists to keep the doors of their vehicles locked when unattended, and to keep belongings – especially expensive items such as sunglasses – out of sight. Preferably, do not keep any valuables in your vehicle at all.
“If you witnesses an incident such as this, report it to us immediately. Working with the community, we endeavour to prevent and detect crime, and bring offenders to justice.”
For more advice on how to keep your vehicle safe and sound, visit our crime prevention page here.