Repeated cautions gave Robert Ellis the impression he could get away with offending, a court heard.
He was held on eight occasions by Northumbria Police officers but released without criminal charges.
When he finally appeared before court, he was blasted by Judge Rippon but escaped a jail term because “astonishingly” it was his first offence.
Ellis had received eight cautions for offences including burglary, criminal damage, threatening behaviour, attempted theft, shoplifting, theft from a motor vehicle and possessing cannabis.
Judge Amanda Rippon told Newcastle Crown Court: “He has had more cautions than anyone has a right to. I know the police are busy… He has got away with a remarkable amount of serious crime.” The judge added: “Just because the police have given him a number of cautions doesn’t mean he can go on like Bonnie and Clyde, committing offences until he is shot.
“I can give him a different experience of the justice system which would mature him quite quickly.”
Joe Culley, prosecuting, conceded the tearaway “has been dealt with previously with generosity”. Ellis stole a BMW M Sport from an exclusive address in Newcastle in March. The car, which smashed through the homeowner’s £7,000 gates, was later found written off having collided with traffic lights.
Judge Rippon told him: “It was just chance that nobody died.
“You deserve to go to prison – but I’m going to give you a chance because you are 18 and you have not been convicted of any offences, astonishingly, before.” Ellis, from Longbenton, North Tyneside, admitted taking without consent, criminal damage plus related car offences.
He received a suspended sentence with 100 hours unpaid work, an alcohol abstinence monitoring requirement and was banned from driving for 18 months.
Northumbria Police declined to comment.