Theft – taking something to which one is not entitled, by any means

     This page is continued from Criminal Law Self-Help >>>> Types of Crimes and Corresponding Laws:


n. (bef. 12c)

l. The wrongful taking and removing of another’s personal property with the intent of depriving the true owner of it; larceny.

2. Broadly, any act or instance of stealing, including larceny, burglary, embezzlement, and false pretenses.  *  Many modern penal codes have consolidated such property offenses under the name “theft.” — aka (in Latin) crimen furti.  [1]

1. Larceny.  A broader term than larceny, including other forms of wrongful deprivation of the property of another.  32 Am J1st Larc § 2.

The word is defined as a fraudulent taking of corporeal personal property belonging to another from his possession, or from the possession of some person holding the same from him, without his consent, with intent to deprive the owner of the value of the same, and to appropriate it to the use or benefit of the person taking.  The taking must be wrongful, so that if the property came into the possession of the person accused of theft by lawful means, the subsequent appropriation of it is not theft, but if the taking, though originally lawful, was obtained by any false pretext, or with any intent to deprive the owner of the value thereof, and appropriate the property to the use and benefit of the person taking, and the same to appropriated, the offense of theft is complete.  Anno: 30 ALR 663. [2]

1. Larceny.

2. In a broader sense, taking something to which one is not entitled, whatever the means (for EXAMPLE, whether by embezzlement, extortion, fraud, or outright robbery); stealing. [3]

     Excerpt from Rollin M. Perkins & Ronald N. Boyce’s Criminal Law (3d ed. 1982):

      “[Tlhe distinctions between larceny, embezzlement and false pretenses serve no useful purpose in the criminal law but are useless handicaps from the standpoint of the administration of criminal justice. One solution has been to combine all three in one section of the code under the name of ‘larceny.’  This has one disadvantage, however, because it frequently becomes necessary to add a modifier to make clear whether the reference is to common-la H larceny or to statutory larceny. To avoid this difficulty some states have employed another word to designate a statutory offense made up of a combination of larceny, embezzlement, and false pretenses.  And the word used for this purpose is ‘theft.’  ‘Theft’ is not the name of any common-law offense.  At times it has been employed as a synonym of ‘larceny,’ but for the most part has been regarded as broader in its general scope.  Under such a statute it is not necessary for the indictment charging theft to specify whether the offense is larceny, embezzlement or false prev tenses. [2]

vb (bef. 12c)

1. To take (personal property) illegally with the intent to keep it unlawfully.

2. To take (something) by larceny, embezzlement, or false pretenses.

Various Forms of Theft:

cybertheft. See CYBERTHEF’i‘.

identity theft. See IDENTIFY THEFT.

petty theft. (16c) A theft of a small quantity of cash or of low-value goods or services.  This offense is usally. a misdemeanor.

theft by deception. (1930) The use of trickery to obtain another’s property, especially. by (1) creating or reinforcing a false impression (as about value), (2) preventing one from obtaining information that would affect one’s judgment about a transaction, or (3) failing to disclose, in a property transfer, a known lien or other legal 1mpediment. Model Penal Code § 223.

theft by extortion. (1969) Larceny in which the perpetrator obtains property by threatening to (1) inflict bodily harm on anyone or commit any other criminal offense, (2) accuse anyone of a criminal offense, (3) expose any secret tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt, or ridicule, or impair one’s credit or business reputation, (4) take or withhold action as an official, or cause an official to take or withhold action, (5) bring about or continue a strike, boycott, or other collective unofficial action, if the property is not demanded or received for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor purports to act, (6) testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another’s legal claim or defense, or (7) inflict any other harm that would not benefit the actor. Model Penal Code § 223.4. — aka larceny by extortion.

theft by false pretext. (1888) The use of a false pretext to obtain another’s property.

theft by finding. See larceny by finding under LARCENY.

theft of property lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake. (1973) Larceny in which one obtains control of property the person knows to be lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake (esp. in the amount of property or identity of recipient) and fails to take reasonable measures to restore the property to the rightful owner. Model Penal Code § 223.5. — aka larceny of property lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake.

theft of services. (1946) The act of obtaining services from another by deception, threat, coercion, stealth, mechanical tampering, or using a false token or device. See Model Penal Code § 223.7.

thefibote. (theft-boht) See BOTE (3).

theftuous:adj (14c)1. (Of an act) characterized by theft.

2. (Of a person) given to stealing. — also spelled theftous. [1]


Disclaimer: All material throughout this website is pertinent to people everywhere, and is being utilized in accordance with Fair Use.

[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black, Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-61300-4

[2]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations
Third Edition
 by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Edited by William S. Anderson.  © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY.  Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931

[3]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition by Jack Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.

[4]: Rollin M. Perkins & Ronald N. Boyce, Criminal Law 389-90 (3d ed. 1982).


Back to Common Crimes

All Federal Rules of Procedure Simplified

Intro to Law

Like this website?

Please Support Our Fundraiser

or donate via PayPal:


Disclaimer: Wild Willpower does not condone the actions of Maximilian Robespierre, however the above quote is excellent!

This website is being broadcast for First Amendment purposes courtesy of

Question(s)?  Suggestion(s)?
We look forward to hearing from you!