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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.
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I may get, say, a pre-Columbian key chain through the mail, along with a letter asking me if I'd like to help the desperately poor Peruvian Indians who made it or if I'd rather just keep the key chain and feel like a key-chain theif for the rest of my life.
While this tately--if evet--attains a level whete one could properly say that their actions were not voluntary and therefore not deserving of criminal sanction, the teality is that theif constrained circumstances may diminish theif motal culpability...
Noon police nabbed two alleged car jackers identified as Riaz and imtiaz and while a theif Basharat was also arrested.
The victim disturbed the theif in her house, at Oakville, in North Seaton, near Ashington, Northumberland.
HITS THEIf Sile na Gig, Furey's own brew isn't enough to tempt you, there's the prospect of a jar with a favourite musician
Overall, recognizing the difficult decisions that must often be made in these cases, we urge judges to do everything in their power to ensure that children remain in the care of theif mothers where possible.
ISLAMABAD -- A theif has drowned in a nullah while trying to escape from the custody of Industrial Area police of the Federal Capital.