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What Is the Crime of Theft?

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Gavel

Gavel

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Question: What Is the Crime of Theft?
Answer: The crime of theft is the taking of the property of another person without their consent. In order for theft to occur, the thief must have the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property taken.

Sometimes called larceny, theft is a general term that can describe various forms of larceny, including burglary, looting, shoplifting, embezzlement, fraud and criminal conversion. Some states have laws that deal specifically with theft by taking, theft by deception or theft by conversion.

Most states also provide for different levels of theft, such as grand theft or petty theft, which usually are linked to the value of the property stolen. The dollar amount that distinguishes grand theft from petty theft can vary from state to state.

Many states also have laws that make the crime of theft a misdemeanor or a felony, based on the value of the property stolen or other circumstances surrounding the crime.

Return to Crimes A-Z

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