Paul John Murphy is an addict.
But it is not alcohol or drugs that give him a buzz.
For 32 years he has been in and out of prison for thefts and burglaries — indiscriminate, incessant dishonesty.
More than 150 convictions.
The 49-year-old appeared in the Dunedin District Court again yesterday after admitting two charges of theft and one of burglary.
Murphy was first arrested while a teenager, but his kleptomania began much earlier.
His mother, the court heard, recalled him coming home with stolen items from school or from neighbouring homes at the age of 5.
She described Murphy as "a magpie" and the things he stole were often items he could not use or did not need.
His proclivities led them to clinician after clinician.
The defendant was diagnosed with ADHD, but little else could be understood, which was immensely frustrating for the family.
Defence counsel Rhona Daysh said little had changed.
"He's a conundrum, a puzzle, an enigma," she said.
"He can't explain his offending. He doesn't understand his offending."
On November 3 — just six months after being released from prison — Murphy stole an expensive mountain bike from outside a Great King St address.
Shortly after, he went to the back of a Park St home, through a gate and into an enclosed yard.
From the washing line, he took "an assortment of women's bikini and underwear items", Judge Mark Callaghan said.
The mini-spree came to an end on November 8.
In the early hours, Murphy was found creeping around by the resident of a George St house. After a brief confrontation, the defendant ran off.
The judge said the fact the victim came face to face with the man who had broken into their home made the burglary "quite severe".
Daysh said her client accepted prison was the best place for him and he wanted to address his issues while behind bars.
Murphy was sentenced to two years and one month's jail and ordered to pay nearly $1500 in reparation.