Theft is also known as larceny, which is the act of taking and carrying away another individual’s personal property with neither consent nor entitlement to possession.
For this charge to apply, there must be intent to deprive the owner of that property and convert it to one’s own use or to that of another individual besides the owner.
Theft can also be used to define a series of crimes against property, such as burglary, embezzlement, looting, robbery, shoplifting, fraud, credit card fraud, pickpocketing, skimming (casinos), bank robbery, armed robbery, carjacking, grand theft auto, extortion, and identity theft, each of which are defined below.
- Burglary is the act of breaking into a private place, such as a home or a store, without authorization and against the law. It is typically committed with the intent of theft from the burglarized place.
- Embezzlement occurs when someone entrusted with property, typically by an employer or an employing company, hides the property without knowledge of its rightful owner, usually to keep for his or her own. A typical example of this is the misappropriation of company funds to one’s own personal account.
- Looting is the theft of goods in the wake of a distressed event, such as stealing store property after a recent riot or violent protest in the area. The looter takes advantage recent or ongoing chaos to steal relatively undetected or ignored by authorities.
- Robbery is the theft or attempted theft by force or threat of force.
- Armed Robbery is a robbery assisted by the employment of a weapon (firearms, knives, etc.).
- Shoplifting is the theft of store goods by concealment rather than force.
- Pickpocketing is the theft of property off of another’s body without the victim’s knowledge. It is similar to shoplifting, but the victim is a person rather than a store.
- Fraud is committed via lies or cheats that facilitate theft.
- Credit Card Fraud is usually committed to steal from a credit card company or bank.
- Identity Theft is the use or attempt to use another’s identity as one’s own to access information or steal. It is not necessarily “theft” in the traditional sense because often no physical objects are taken (although I.D. cards such as licenses and Social Security cards are common targets), but theft in the sense of using another’s identity illegally for personal gain. It often accompanies credit card fraud as a means to that end.
- Skimming (casinos) is the attempt to avoid taxes by outright hiding or otherwise redirecting profits.
- Grand Theft Auto is the theft of an automobile of all sorts, and includes carjacking, “hotwiring,” stealing keys, etc.
- Carjacking is a form of grand theft auto where the theft of the car occurs by means of force or a threat to the driver, and is the automobile equivalent of a robbery.
- Extortion is the theft of goods or services by means of threat of force. The key quality for the crime of extortion is the duress of the victim; the victim performs the action or confers the goods under pressure of violence.
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