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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.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


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)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.


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.

Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

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.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
A LESCO source confirmed to reporter here Wednesday that Company had also got registered 106 cases against the power stealers with respective police stations, besides charging 8.37 million units and managed to receive Rs 139.35 million as fine.
In a physical clash at the Rhondda Fach Sports Centre on Saturday, the Rebels once again cast aside the Stealers in the second round of the cup following last month's league victory.
The teams seized illegal wires used for illegal connections and also arrested one power stealer Samih Ullah and registered FIR against him, the spokesman informed.
Although an away win against the Rebels may be against the odds, the Stealers are hoping tonight's game can turn the tide as they aim to shrug off the current losing streak.
He said the forest staff that will succeed in arresting wood stealers will be awarded prizes and commendation certificates.
IT has been a long and hard first season in Division One for the Uwic Stealers, with the average result summarised by Saturday's match, away at Doncaster, against the Panthers.
THE Rhondda Rebels overcame the setback of their mid week European Ronchetti Cup defeat to concentrate on the National League and beat Uwic Stealers in the first Welsh derby on Saturday night.
PESHAWAR -- The PECO authorities Monday held 16 power stealers in Mardan-I division on charges of using electricity through direct connections.
Gas and power stealers are national criminals and the corrupt elements will not be allowed to play with the future of country in any way.
THE National Indoor Athletics Centre tomorrow plays host to the only English Basketball Association National League Women's Division One Welsh derby, as the Uwic Stealers face the defending league champions, Rhondda Rebels (7pm).
BASKETBALL: Uwic Stealers make their shortest away trip of the season this weekend when they take on the defending Division One champions, the Rhondda Rebels, in Tylorstown.
FAISALABAD -- Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has directed to take strict action against gas and electricity stealers. According to media reports, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif Monday visited a mill in Faisalabad that was involved in annual gas theft worth Rs0.2 billion.