A man who stole more than 200 packets of medication and vaccines following a spate of break-ins across northern Illawarra pharmacies has been jailed for four years.
Patrick Mulryan was caught on CCTV wearing a head torch and gloves when he repeatedly smashed the front glass door of Priceline Pharmacy, Woonona with a mallet about 4.26am on July 25.
The 32-year-old was undeterred by the cut he sustained on his hand, crouching through the hole he made before running to the dispensary and ransacking it.
He stuffed a duffel bag with hundreds of medication packets, including Valium and several types of painkillers containing codeine.
Mulryan fled the scene after the eight-minute operation, however, he left drops of his blood at the scene. Four days later, he struck again.
Mulryan smashed through front door of the same pharmacy in the early hours, again swiping as many packets of medication as he could before fleeing.
On July 30, the apprentice plumber arrived at Thirroul Central Chemist about 4.40am and kept a lookout as an unknown co-accused ransacked the shelves.
He maintained his role as watchman on August 1 when he drove another unknown co-accused to Woonona Village Practice, before fleeing the scene with seven types of vaccines, including for whooping cough and Hepatitis B.
Some of the vaccines were in "very short supply" in Australia at the time and were for patients with appointments the next day.
Police raided Mulryan's Woonona address that afternoon and uncovered hundreds of packets of meds stored in bags in a kitchen and the roof of the garage.
They also found Mulryan's head torch and gloves he used for the break-ins, as well as several viles of testosterone and animal medication from Northern Illawarra Vet in a bathroom drawer.
He was arrested and has remained behind bars since, later pleading guilty to 11 charges including four counts of receiving stolen property and three counts of break, enter and steal.
Mulryan read out a letter he penned in custody to the court, in which he attributed the break-ins to a drug relapse.
"I am sorry to those who didn't have their medication and vaccines which were in shortage," he said.
Defence lawyer Jonathon Kearney conceded the threshold of whether Mulryan should be imprisoned was "well and truly crossed" and pointed to a psychologist's report that detailed his client's traumatic upbringing.
Magistrate Gabriel Fleming said Mulryan's crimes left a trail of victims including business owners and patients who relied on appointments to get their medicine.
"You didn't just take a packet of Panadol, did you?" she said.
"No, [it was] a whole lot of drugs. Drugs people use for very serious medical conditions.
"It's shocking, absolutely appalling."
Mulryan received a four-year jail term, backdated to August 1, with a non-parole period of two years.
"You'll have a lot of time to think about how you're going to change your ways," the magistrate said.