Theft: What It Is And The Various Types
Theft is an umbrella term which includes several different kinds of illegal activity. While all kinds of theft involve taking someone else’s property without permission, there are clear differences between each category of theft.
Shoplifting is when someone takes goods from a retail store without paying. Even if the products are taken by accident or oversight, walking out of a store with items you have not paid for is criminal theft. Advancements in technology that counteract loss prevention efforts, such as security cameras and anti-theft tags, make shoplifting one of the most difficult types of theft to deter.
When someone takes another person’s property without the use of fraud or violence, that theft is considered larceny. Another broad term that encompasses a number of more specific thefts, larceny refers to a number of different crimes including car theft and embezzlement. Most states distinguish different levels of larceny as well. Petty larceny, also known as petty theft, usually involves stealing property worth less than $500. When the property is worth more than the maximum “petty” amount, that theft is then considered grand larceny.
Mugging is a form of street robbery prevalent in larger cities and tourism destinations. During an instance of mugging, a stranger will assault someone on the street and steal whatever property is on hand. Weapons or the threat of violence are often used as a motivation for the victim to hand over any valuables they are carrying. This type of theft is a violent crime which comes with steeper penalties than other, more passive, thefts. However, due to the speed with which this crime often occurs, perpetrators are difficult to find and prosecute.
One of the least common types of theft, looting is when property is stolen during some kind of riot, celebration or disaster. Often times, looting is a mob based crime committed by large groups of people all at once. These groups take advantage of a chaotic public situation and steal unattended merchandise from stores, homes and vehicles.
Another type of theft is robbery, which is when someone’s property is taken without their permission by force, fraud or intimidation. In most cases, the circumstances and details of the robbery inform how harsh the punishment will be. Like larceny, robbery encompasses several degrees of crimes including armed robbery and aggravated robbery. In most cases, the steeper punishments are given to more violent or egregious instances of robbery.
The different types of theft all involve someone’s property being taken, whether by force or cunning. Each type of theft has its own punishment and classification.
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