Andrew Dunkley, 32, stole a Citroen Picasso from outside a house in Apthorpe Street, Fulbourn, on 6 March.
As he erratically sped away from the scene he passed the victim’s daughter, who realised it was her mum’s car when she arrived home seconds later.
He was arrested in connection with the offence on 12 March but replied no comment to all questions in an interview and bailed pending further enquiries.
Dunkley was arrested for unrelated offences near his home in Rachel Close, Cambridge, on 15 July and charged and remanded for the theft,
He was also charged with drugs offences after being found in January with cocaine, crack cocaine, methadone and heroin worth an estimated £2,500.
On Thursday (12 November), at Peterborough Crown Court, Dunkley was sentenced to 20 months in prison after pleading guilty to theft of a motor vehicle and possession of a class A drug.
Detective Constable Eitan Joseph, who investigated, said: “In court, Dunkley admitted to being ‘an honest criminal’. He is a career criminal with multiple previous convictions. He is a career criminal with multiple previous convictions. With his offending knowledge, he is evidentially and forensically aware which makes it increasingly challenging to link him to offences.
“I’m pleased his sentence will see him behind bars for some time, where he has an opportunity to reflect on his life choices.”