A convenience store's supervisor raided its safe and till of nearly £2,000 in a "moment of madness", a court heard on Monday.
Kyle McClean was handed four-month suspended prison sentence for stealing the cash from Russell Shop 4 You in Belfast.
The 25-year-old, of Park Parade in the city, has since paid the money back and apologised for his actions.
Belfast Magistrates' Court heard another member of staff discovered the store's safety deposit box and till were both empty on May 16 this year.
CCTV checks revealed how the cash - £1,945 in coins - had been taken the previous day.
A prosecution lawyer said McClean, who had worked in the shop for a number of years, then failed to turn up for his normal shift.
He was arrested after police called at his home address.
"He apologised for his actions and said it was a moment of madness," the prosecutor added.
District Judge Fiona Bagnall was told he may have been partially under the influence of drugs at the time of the theft.
A defence solicitor stressed McClean's previous clear record and efforts to repay the cash.
Mrs Bagnall ruled that such a clear breach of trust case "crossed the custody threshold".
However, she decided to suspend the four-month term for 18 months due to McClean's attitude since the incident.
The judge pointed out: "There's genuine remorse and he's done everything he van to rectify the situation."