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Related to Theives: thrive, throve, thieved, thrived


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 ?
The theives may well have made a couple of hundred pounds selling the lead to a dubious scrap metal merchant, but the devastation left behind will cost St Mary's close on PS20,000 to put right Audrey Henderson, St Mary's parishoner
The center indicated that the security apparatus was able to retrieve the car but not the phones nor the theives.
Alan has been scouring CCTV footage in a bid to catch the theives who stole X Factor chief Cowell's head.
July 26, 2012 (KAMPALA) -- Since the acting governor of Lakes state, Mabor Achol Kuer, issued a deadline to cattle rustlers in Cueibet county to return their spoils within three days 17 suspected theives have been arrested.
A gang of theives needs the help of an enemy to get even with a casino boss who has conned one of the team 2007 ***
The theives broke in the house in Fernhill Drive by smashing a patio door and ransacked the house before stealing diamond, gold, ruby and sapphire necklaces, earrings, bangles and rings.
And she called on communities to look after their elderly neighbours to avoid them falling prey to theives.
The theives appeared to be working in a gang and are professionals.
YOU SAID: Don''t these theives realise the the pain they bring to families when they steal their pets, most people treat pets as part of the family.
The theives damaged the main idol and decamped with an eye made of gold and a silver umbrella of the statue.
Summary: Britain's rarest wild flower will receive police protection from theives when it blooms later this month.
The pensioners, who live nearby, said they think the theives were after Simon's Corvette car.