Joseph Dunn, aged 47, of HMP Stockton-on-Tees, pleaded guilty to theft from a motor vehicle.
Newcastle magistrates’ sentenced him to eight weeks in jail for the offence and ordered him to pay £145 compensation to the victim.
The court heard how on 16 November last year, Dunn smashed the window of the taxi parked outside Newcastle station and was caught rummaging through the glovebox by the driver.
Startled, Dunn ran off but was apprehended and temporarily detained by three members of the public.
In the ensuing struggle, Dunn managed to wriggle free of his jacket and jumper and ran off bare-chested into the city.
The driver, whose wallet containing cash and cards were stolen by Dunn, reported the crime to British Transport Police.
Specialist forensic officers examined the clothing left behind at the scene and managed to find a DNA match to Dunn.
Investigating officer, PC Andy Pearson said: “Dunn targeted a hard-working victim, who, in the run-up to Christmas, was no doubt working even longer hours, only to have Dunn help himself to his earnings.
“Thanks to DNA we were able to match him to the crime without a shadow of a doubt leaving him no option but to plead guilty.”