Staff at Wilkos on Clumber Street raised the alarm when they discovered water leaking in from the Legacy night club, next door, on April 5, last year.
The rear fire doors had been forced open and Bernard Williams' DNA was found on a screwdriver and pliers, alongside piping torn from the boiler, said prosecutor Siward James-Moore.
Williams ran when he was spotted near another empty property, and he was arrested with amphetamine and a set of Stanley knife blades.
The owner said he was unable to cover the estimated £80,000 to £100,000 cost of rewiring the club, which was closed at the time because of lockdown.
Nottingham Crown Court heard Williams has "a number of convictions recorded against him," including attempted theft from a dwelling, in 2012.
He received a 27 month prison sentence for handling stolen goods and burglary, in 2013, but there was gap in his offending between 2015 and 2021.
James Horne, mitigating, said Williams is a full-time carer for his partner who has a "genuinely debilitating illness."
“He has grappled with a drug habit that has blighted his life since his early twenties and has managed to eradicate it,” he said.
“At the time he was living in a tent with his partner and he was very much down on his luck. He has done all that he can to turn the clock back to 2015.”
Williams, 30, of Gorman Close, Newbold, pleaded guilty to burglary in April, 2021, in the magistrates’ court and received a suspended sentence. He breached the order by possessing amphamine and was sent to the crown court last September.
On Friday, Judge Gregory Dickinson QC, the Recorder of Nottingham, told him the “targeted burglary” caused “substantial damage,” but the insurance situation was unclear.
“Why then do I think it is in the best interests of you and the public to suspend the sentence?” he asked.
He said Williams “demonstrated a real capacity to stay out of trouble,” provided “vital assistance” to his partner and took “good advantage” of the suspended sentence.
On Friday Williams received 18 months, suspended for 18 months, and a four-month curfew, from 9pm to 6am.