Jake Datson, 19, faced Shepparton Magistrates’ Court via video link from prison on Tuesday, pleading guilty to four charges including theft of a motor vehicle and criminal damage by fire.
The teenager stole a car from Yarrawonga, which was later found burnt out in Melbourne a day later.
The court heard Datson opened an unlocked car in Yarrawonga in November last year, and stole a set of keys from inside.
He used the stolen keys to unlock and drive off with a Hyundai utility vehicle which was parked nearby.
The Hyundai car, which was valued at $24000, was found on fire in Epping the next day.
A palm print found in the first car eventually linked Datson to the crime and he was interviewed by police in January.
He told officers he had never seen the cars in his life, but was unable to say why his palm print was found in the vehicle.
Lawyer for Datson, Kristina Kutija, said her client had been behind bars since last year on an unrelated crime.
He was being assessed for a community corrections order and sentencing was adjourned.