theft


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Theft

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.

Cross-references

Burglary; Robbery.

theft

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)

theft

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

theft

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 classic literature ?
For if he gave notice that he was going, his mother, he knew, would insist on fetching from her box of guineas the three she had always promised him as his share; indeed, in his original plan, he had counted on this as a means by which the theft would be discovered under circumstances that would themselves speak for his innocence; but now, as I need hardly explain, that well- combined plan was completely frustrated.
When the inspector and a constable entered the house, Arthur, who had stood sullenly with his arms folded, asked me whether it was my intention to charge him with theft.
Scarcely had the search commenced than the overturned cauldron was discovered, and with it the theft of the poisoned arrows.
But one thing I am sure of, if it be a theft, it was committed, not in the evening when we were all together, but either at night or early in the morning; therefore, by one of those who slept here.
If such a thing were to happen now, I should condemn it as theft myself.
This would have made the theft much more difficult than Mynheer Isaac had at first expected.
The theft of the Flibberty-Gibbet was merely amusing, though the means by which the theft had been effected gave him hurt.
And I answer," retorted the impenetrable lawyer, "that the suspicion of theft rests on your Ladyship's adopted daughter, and on nobody else.
A WOLF accused a Fox of theft, but the Fox entirely denied the charge.
His work included the adjudgment of the arms of Achilles to Odysseus, the madness of Aias, the bringing of Philoctetes from Lemnos and his cure, the coming to the war of Neoptolemus who slays Eurypylus, son of Telephus, the making of the wooden horse, the spying of Odysseus and his theft, along with Diomedes, of the Palladium: the analysis concludes with the admission of the wooden horse into Troy by the Trojans.
For truly, God does not estimate theft by the value of the thing stolen, He looks at the thief.
He was excellent above all men in theft and perjury.