Armed with a stolen Kmart meat cleaver, Samuel Dobbs held up a restaurant, walking away with a single can of creaming soda before being arrested.
After a series of small-scale thefts in Albury in July last year, including cigarette lighters taken from the Reject Shop in West End Plaza and mixed lollies swiped from a local cafe, Dobbs will spend at least until November in jail.
Issuing a maximum sentence of two years and six months in the NSW District Court, Judge Sean Grant said while Dobbs had made no direct threat with the meat cleaver, his build and appearance would have made the situation frightening.
"Samuel Dobbs is a bearded large man. He looks intimidating. Armed with a meat cleaver, he is terrifying," the judge said.
Dobbs entered the Schnitz restaurant carrying the meat cleaver and ordered a creaming soda and large chips.
"I don't have any money. I just have my lighter and a knife," he said.
After taking two creaming sodas out of the fridge, he gave one to a restaurant employee and left carrying the remaining can.
Judge Grant noted Dobbs' "bizarre behaviour" was a result of his untreated schizophrenia and his illegal drug abuse.
"At the time of the offending, he was hungry having not eaten for a number of days prior. He was spending his money on 'ice' and cannabis and was stealing for food. He had not slept for two days because of his 'ice' use."
In handing down the sentence, which was lower than the maximum jail time of 20 years, Judge Grant took into account Dobbs' plea of guilty, his genuine remorse, his recent attempts to treat his mental health and COVID-19 restrictions imposed in NSW prisons.
A non-parole period of one year and three months has been applied, with Dobbs having a chance to walk free on November 2 this year.