A TEENAGE car thief has been told he is on "thin ice" and will soon face periods in adult prison if he keeps offending.
The 16-year-old, who cannot be named, pleaded guilty at the Ipswich District Court to six counts of stealing, three counts of burglary, three counts of unlawful use of a motor vehicle, and a single charge of possessing a dangerous drug.
The court heard between July and December last year the teenager broke into houses where he would find car keys and steal the householders' cars.
He was then seen on a number of occasions on CCTV cameras, filling the stolen vehicles up with petrol and driving off without paying.
During a break-in on December 19, the teenager stole an iPhone as well as the car from a house. The owner of the phone used the Find My Phone app and contacted police.
Using this information, the police found the teenager in the stolen car.
Upon seeing police, he fled, starting a brief pursuit before police called it off due to danger to the public.
He was eventually located and arrested at a house in Camira.
At the police watchhouse he told police where they could find another stolen car, less than 200m from the house he was found in. It had been written-off.
The court heard he had done more than $36,000 in damages through his crime spree, not including some minor damage done to a BMW he had stolen.
After he was arrested, he was refused bail and had remained behind bars for 196 days.
Judge Greg Koppenol said the teenager had engaged in "disgraceful behaviour" and described stealing petrol as a "miserable offence".
"You can't keep committing criminal offences," he said.
"If you do you'll go to prison. Adult prison, you're turning 17 soon."
He was formally reprimanded with the 196 days in custody taken into account.