George Laverick, 45, of no fixed abode, was sentenced in Northampton Crown Court yesterday (July 6) after earlier pleading guilty to burglary.
Laverick, who has convictions for 26 historic burglaries and 147 theft-related offences, refused to appear in court.
The court heard how just before lunchtime on May 22, Laverick broke into a house on Shadowfax Drive and pulled the living room and a bedroom apart in an untidy search.
But he was caught in the act when the homeowner came home to find Laverick in the hallway with his television.
Prosecuting barrister Samuel Skinner said: "The homeowner then took the defendant upstairs and sat on him until the police arrived."
When he was caught by the owner, Laverick reportedly said: "Please don't call the police, I'll give you my phone, I'll tell you where your TV is." This led to the recovery of a second television that Laverick had tried to steal from the house, which was stuffed in a bush nearby.
Mr Skinner said: "Laverick later told the police he had been walking past when someone gave him the stolen property, and it was the homeowner who pulled him into the house."
Laverick later pleaded guilty to the offence at Northampton Crown Court.
His Honour Deputy Circuit Judge Stokes said: "His search suggests he was looking to steal anything and everything of value.
"His excuse was pathetic, he has declined the invitation to come to court today and his history of offences aggravates the matter."
Laverick was sentenced to 40 months in prison. Some of the stolen property was never recovered.