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A criminal act in which property belonging to another is taken without that person's consent.

The term theft is sometimes used synonymously with Larceny. Theft, however, is actually a broader term, encompassing many forms of deceitful taking of property, including swindling, Embezzlement, and False Pretenses. Some states categorize all these offenses under a single statutory crime of theft.


Burglary; Robbery.


n. the generic term for all crimes in which a person intentionally and fraudulently takes personal property of another without permission or consent and with the intent to convert it to the taker's use (including potential sale). In many states, if the value of the property taken is low (for example, less than $500) the crime is "petty theft," but it is "grand theft" for larger amounts, designated misdemeanor, or felony, respectively. Theft is synonymous with "larceny." Although robbery (taking by force), burglary (taken by entering unlawfully), and embezzlement (stealing from an employer) are all commonly thought of as theft, they are distinguished by the means and methods used, and are separately designated as those types of crimes in criminal charges and statutory punishments. (See: larceny, robbery, burglary, embezzlement)


noun burglary, embezzlement, felonious taking, filchery, fraudulent taking, furtum, larceny, looting, misappropriation, peculation, pilferage, pilfering, robbery, stealing, swindling, thievery, wrongful taking
Associated concepts: theft of services
Foreign phrases: Contrectatio rei alienae animo furando, est furtum.The touching or removing of another's propprty, with an intention of stealing, is theft.
See also: burglary, conversion, embezzlement, housebreaking, larceny, misappropriation, plunder, robbery, spoliation


in English law, now defined in statutory terms as the dishonest appropriation of property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it. The law has, however, been complicated by semantic arguments, leading the Court of Appeal to say that the law is in urgent need of reform to make cases understandable to juries. Wheel-clamping is not theft in England (contrary to the position in Scotland) because there is not the intention to permanently deprive.

In Scots criminal law, the felonious taking or appropriation (or retention) of the property of another without his consent and (in most cases, but not necessarily) with the intention to deprive him of it permanently. Wheel-clamping has been held to be theft in Scotland, even although the vehicle is not moved by the clamper.

THEFT, crimes. This word is sometimes used as synonymous with larceny, (q.v.) but it is not so technical. Ayliffe's Pand. 581 2 Swift's Dig. 309.
     2. In the Scotch law, this is a proper and technical word, and signifies the secret and felonious abstraction of the property of another for sake of lucre, without his consent. Alison, Princ. Cr. Law of Scotl. 250.

References in periodicals archive ?
There may be some families who believe an EHIC6 card will cover more than just medical expenses, however it will only provide medical care at the same cost as a national of that country (they could still be left with a large bill) and what's more without travel insurance they won't have any cover in place for such things as repatriation, cancellation, lost luggage or theft of property.
On April 26, a jury found Durst guilty of arson that caused great bodily injury, two counts of burglary, two counts of theft of property, and carrying a loaded firearm.
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McKim also pleaded guilty in April 2008 to theft of property in Pulaski County Circuit Court and was sentenced to 15 years in the Arkansas Department of Correction.
The pair were each charged with possession of stolen property over $5,000, theft of property over $5,000, and possession of break-in tools.
That's a new high in Gallup trends since 2003, but still lower than the percentage experiencing traditional theft of property or vandalism.
Theft of property up to $500 in value from a school, place of worship or government property is punishable as a Class 4 felony.
They will also be warned about the harsh consequences of the theft of property and the importance of keeping a vigilant eye out for crime.
A LONDON man is due to appear in court later this month after being charged in connection with the theft of property worth about pounds 5,000 from the home of John McCririck while he was at Cheltenham preparing to cover the 2009 New Year's Day meeting on Channel 4.
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Another former water company director, Dennis Richard Tomlinson, previously pleaded no contest to misdemeanor grand theft of property and was sentenced to three years' probation and a $100 fine.
The program provides information on policyholder and insider fraud schemes to help insurance company customer service representatives detect and prevent fraud, such as social engineering seams, forgery and the theft of property and identity.