David Scott, of Ashington, had burgled the home in Bedlington, Northumberland, while the woman who lived there was on holiday in May.
But, little did he know, her granddaughter was looking after the home at the time and discovered the “ransacked” scene soon after.
She decided to investigate and found out that a neighbour’s CCTV camera had caught him in the act taking her gran’s flat-screen TV.
The clip showed a hooded Scott walking past the front of the neighbour’s house with the TV in hand.
To the granddaughter’s shock, he then returned to the scene where she immediately confronted him.
He denied any wrongdoing but was followed to a nearby pub by neighbours.
They then restrained him and Scott suffered “injuries” before police arrived and arrested him.
The 38-year-old, of Kirkharle Crescent, Ashington, pleaded guilty to burglary but has been freed on a suspended prison sentence at Newcastle Crown Court on August 8.
Jolyon Perks, prosecuting, said the victim had gone on holiday in May and two days later her granddaughter found the flat had been burgled.
“The disturbance inside is described as ransacking,” he said.
“All rooms had been turned over, drawers had been pulled out, the contents upturned, a TV in the bedroom had been put on a sofa, boxes were open and in the living room a TV had been removed from the wall and a number of items were missing.”
He added: “At 6.30pm on May 6, while speaking to neighbours outside the address, she noticed the defendant was coming from a back lane around the burgled property.
“The prosecution say he accepted when interviewed he had been back to the property twice and this may be consistent with him returning again He was wearing the same clothing in the CCTV.”
When Scott was by confronted by the victim’s granddaughter he initially denied being the burglar.
“He was followed by members of the public to the Clayton Arms pub, restrained and put to the ground by members of the public,” Perks added.
“He was heard to say ‘I’m sorry I didn’t know it was your grandma’s, I’m not a burglar, I will get the items back, I will do it now’.”
After being arrested, Scott admitted to abusing crack cocaine and said he was penniless.
Some of the stolen items were recovered afterwards but most were not.
Jamie Adams, defending, said: “He got some punishment in the street, which many would think was deserved in the circumstances.”