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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 ?
An identity theft prevention program must also outline the actions that an organization will take to respond appropriately to detected red flags.
FuelDefend Global manufactures and markets the world's broadest range of fuel theft prevention products with a new portfolio of vehicle security, safety and fuel efficiency.
Without auto theft prevention task forces, Hansen said, car thefts would increase, insurance premiums would skyrocket and Texans would end paying even more.
If no covered account exists, then there is no need for an identity theft prevention program.
Some states maintain a database, included in their department of motor vehicle records, of those vehicles enrolled in vehicle theft prevention programs.
This book was written as a tool for corporations in training leadership personnel to take an active role in theft prevention.
The most commonly used method of theft prevention is to insert individual tapes and CDs into cardboard or plastic "long boxes" which are displayed in wooden racks supplied by cassette and compact disk suppliers.
To assist institutions to comply with the Red Flag guidance and regulations and combat this growing consumer concern, IBT has developed a strategic identity theft prevention plan that alerts the consumer immediately on recognition of some important common triggers identified in the Red Flag Guidance.
Under the House and Senate initial budget proposals, funding is nixed for the Texas Automobile Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority, a five-person shop that lawmakers created in 1991 and awards grants to police agencies to help prevent and investigate the crimes that are its namesake.
At the 53rd Street East house deputies found a car Allan Thomas had bought in 1997 but stopped making payments on, a car bought in the elderly man's name and a stolen car, said sheriff's Detective Dave Chambers, an investigator with the Task Force for Regional Auto Theft Prevention.
Steal a car, truck, motorcycle or heavy equipment vehicle in this state and the Texas Auto Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority (ABTPA) task force team will hunt you down.
In doing so, the city joins the county's Task Force for Regional Auto Theft Prevention, giving Glendale access to its surveillance team, intelligence sharing, prevention programs and investigative and prosecutorial resources.