When a young woman and her sister returned to a large detached house, burglar Lewis Wootton calmly walked away with property from inside.
But Wootton, who abandoned his haul, which included antique plates, in a field as one of the women followed him in her car, was later arrested.
Wootton, 33, of Brand Road, Rugby, pleaded guilty to the burglary at the house in Welsh Road East, Southam, in April, and taking a Peugeot car without consent.
And at Warwick Crown Court Wootton, who also asked for the theft of a BMW and another burglary to be taken into consideration, was jailed for 20 months.
Prosecutor Tariq Shakoor said that after stealing a £15,000 BMW from a golf club car park in February, Wootton was involved in the theft of a Peugeot from the car park of the Marriott Hotel in Northampton in April.
He had tricked his way into the staff cloakroom on the pretext of needing the toilet and had taken the keys to the car from the jacket of a member of staff.
He then passed the keys to another person who took the car while he drove off in another car, but was recognised on a CCTV recording from the car park.
A week later on April 10 he and an accomplice used the Peugeot to travel to Southam to carry out the burglary of ‘a large detached property in a rural location’ in Welsh Road East.
A woman, who was looking after the property while the owner was away, had gone out with her sister to do some shopping, and when they returned they saw the Peugeot parked in the road.
As the woman approached the porch door with a child in her arms she saw Wootton who calmly walked away down the side of the house before jumping over a fence into a field.
The woman’s sister got back into her car and drove down the road alongside the field, with her window open and shouting at Wootton to go back, to which he responded: “I don’t think so.”
When they both reached a gateway Wootton approached the car and, alleged Mr Shakoor, reached through the window and tried to take the key, grabbing her arm when she put her hand over the key.
He then ran off after saying she ought to be worried about her sister because there were two other men in the house.
As Wootton had made his way through the field he had dropped a rucksack he had taken from the house, and in which the police recovered a camcorder, an iPod and some antique plates.
The keys to the Peugeot were also recovered and found to have his DNA on them; but when he was later arrested he denied being involved, but was identified by one of the sisters.
Between that burglary and his arrest Wootton broke into a house in Tachbrook Road, Leamington, which was occupied by students, all but one of whom were away on April 18.
That student returned to the house in time to see Wootton coming out of one of the bedrooms and asked what he was doing, and Wootton responded: “Don’t worry, nothing of yours.”
Wootton, who had taken a passport, a laptop computer, an x-box and foreign coins, pushed past the student and made off into the street, leaving behind a box in which he had put other items including a £2,000 watch, to join an accomplice waiting in a different Peugeot.
Mr Shakoor added that Wootton, who was subject to a community order at the time, had previous convictions for non-dwelling burglaries, but only one for a dwelling burglary.
Jane Sarginson, defending, said that although Wootton shouted at Samantha Moore as she followed him, he ‘categorically denies’ reaching through the window or grabbing her arm.
Sentencing Wootton, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano said she was taking into account the fact he was ‘blighted by significant mental health difficulties’ including auditory hallucinations.