The whereabouts of 50" flat screen smart TV remains a mystery after a former Waihi sales assistant admitted he stole it during a delivery run for his employer.

Blair McMillan, 26, who was set to defend a charge of theft (over $1000) at a judge-alone trial in the Tauranga District Court on Monday instead pleaded guilty to the charge.

McMillan was sentenced to 150 hours' community work and ordered to pay $1162.49 reparation to his victim.

On January 6 this year, McMillan, who worked at 100% Appliance shop in Waihi, was asked by his manager to collect a number of items from the Fliway Depot in Tauranga.

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McMillan collected the required items, which included a Panasonic 50 " LED flat screen smart television and returned to the Waihi shop.

Upon arrival, the manager unloaded the vehicle with the defendant and checked off the items against the sales and depot receipts.

McMillan was asked about the 50" Panasonic television, but he could not explain where the missing item was and failed to attend work on January 9.

When his manager made inquiries with Fliway Depot, CCTV footage showed McMillan had loaded the TV into the company vehicle, and a copy of receipt showed he signed for it.

McMillan submitted his resignation at an employment disciplinary hearing on January 18.

His lawyer, Kerry Hadaway, told Judge Stephen Coyle that her client had been struggling with a number of personal issues at the time of the theft.

McMillan, who had no prior history of dishonesty, had since obtained fulltime work with another firm in Waihi. He was remorseful and offered to pay full reparation, she said.

McMillan has not given an explanation as to the whereabouts of the stolen TV.