Difference Wiki

Burglary vs. Theft: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sumera Saeed || Published on January 1, 2024
Burglary involves illegally entering a structure to commit theft or a felony. Theft is the act of taking someone's property without permission.

Key Differences

Burglary is a crime involving unlawful entry into a building, often with the intent to commit theft. Theft, however, directly refers to the act of stealing property, irrespective of where it occurs.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 01, 2024
Theft encompasses a wide range of property crimes, including larceny, but does not require unlawful entry, which is a hallmark of burglary.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 01, 2024
In burglary, the focus is on the violation of a space (like a home or business) to commit an illegal act, which often includes theft but can also involve other crimes.
Huma Saeed
Jan 01, 2024
The severity of burglary charges can be influenced by factors like whether the building was occupied, while theft charges often depend on the value of the stolen property.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 01, 2024
Theft can be as simple as taking a small item from a store, whereas burglary might involve breaking into that store after hours for the same act.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 01, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Illegal entry to commit a crime
Taking property without permission
Sumera Saeed
Jan 01, 2024

Required Elements

Unlawful entry, intent to commit a crime
Act of stealing, no consent
Huma Saeed
Jan 01, 2024

Location

Involves a structure or building
Can occur anywhere
Sumera Saeed
Jan 01, 2024

Intent

Can include intent to commit any felony
Specifically involves intent to steal
Sumera Saeed
Jan 01, 2024

Legal Charges

Depends on factors like building occupancy
Based on the value of stolen items
Harlon Moss
Jan 01, 2024
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Burglary and Theft Definitions

Burglary

Unlawful entry into a building with intent to commit a crime.
The burglar was arrested for breaking into the jewelry store at night.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 16, 2023

Theft

Taking property without the owner's consent.
His wallet was the victim of a pickpocket's theft.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 16, 2023

Burglary

Intruding into someone's property to commit theft or felony.
They committed burglary by entering the closed shop to steal electronics.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 16, 2023

Theft

Appropriating goods or money without permission.
The employee was fired for the theft of office supplies.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 16, 2023

Burglary

Breaking into a structure illegally to perform an unlawful act.
The burglary at the museum involved stealing priceless artifacts.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 16, 2023

Theft

The act of stealing someone else's property.
The theft of her bicycle left her devastated.
Huma Saeed
Dec 16, 2023

Burglary

Entering a residence without permission to commit a criminal act.
The celebrity's home was the target of a high-profile burglary.
Janet White
Dec 16, 2023

Theft

Unlawful possession of someone else's belongings.
The theft of confidential documents sparked a major investigation.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 16, 2023

Burglary

The act of entering another's premises without authorization in order to commit a crime, such as theft.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 15, 2023

Theft

Illegally acquiring property not belonging to the thief.
The art gallery suffered a significant loss due to the theft of several paintings.
Harlon Moss
Dec 16, 2023

Burglary

An instance of this
There were 10 burglaries in the area last month.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 15, 2023

Theft

The unlawful taking of the property of another; larceny
The prevention of theft.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 15, 2023

Burglary

The crime of unlawfully breaking into a vehicle, house, store, or other enclosure with the intent to steal.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 15, 2023

Theft

An instance of such taking
Several car thefts.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 15, 2023

Burglary

(law) Under the common law, breaking and entering of the dwelling of another at night with the intent to commit a felony.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 15, 2023

Theft

(Obsolete) Something stolen.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 15, 2023

Burglary

Under the Model Penal Code, entering a building or occupied structure with purpose to commit a crime therein, unless the premises are at the time open to the public or the actor is licensed or privileged to enter. Model Penal Code § 221.1.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 15, 2023

Theft

The act of stealing property.
Bike theft is on the rise
A suspect was arrested for the theft of a gold necklace.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 15, 2023

Burglary

Breaking and entering the dwelling house of another, in the nighttime, with intent to commit a felony therein, whether the felonious purpose be accomplished or not.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 15, 2023

Theft

The act of stealing; specifically, the felonious taking and removing of personal property, with an intent to deprive the rightful owner of the same; larceny.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 15, 2023

Burglary

Entering a building unlawfully with intent to commit a felony or to steal valuable property
Sumera Saeed
Dec 15, 2023

Theft

The thing stolen.
If the theft be certainly found in his hand alive, . . . he shall restore double.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 15, 2023

Burglary

Forcible entry into a property for illicit purposes.
The burglary involved smashing a window to gain access to the house.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 16, 2023

Theft

The act of taking something from someone unlawfully;
The thieving is awful at Kennedy International
Sumera Saeed
Dec 15, 2023

FAQs

What constitutes burglary?

Burglary involves unlawfully entering a structure with the intent to commit theft or another felony.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 01, 2024

Is shoplifting considered theft?

Yes, as it involves taking goods without permission.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 01, 2024

Does burglary always involve breaking in?

No, even entering through an unlocked door with criminal intent counts as burglary.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 01, 2024

Is stealing a car considered theft?

Yes, this is often termed as grand theft auto.
Janet White
Jan 01, 2024

How is theft defined?

Theft is the act of taking someone else’s property without their consent.
Huma Saeed
Jan 01, 2024

Is taking something by mistake theft?

Not usually, as theft requires intent.
Harlon Moss
Jan 01, 2024

Can returning stolen property negate a theft charge?

Returning property can mitigate circumstances but doesn’t automatically negate the charge.
Harlon Moss
Jan 01, 2024

What is needed to prove burglary?

Evidence of unlawful entry and intent to commit a crime inside.
Janet White
Jan 01, 2024

Does burglary require planning?

Pre-planning is not necessary; it’s the intent at the time of entry that matters.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 01, 2024

Can theft charges vary?

Yes, based on the value of the stolen property.
Janet White
Jan 01, 2024

Can burglary occur without theft?

Yes, if the intent is to commit a felony other than theft.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 01, 2024

Are all burglaries committed at night?

No, burglaries can occur at any time.
Harlon Moss
Jan 01, 2024

Does the value of stolen items affect burglary charges?

Not typically; it's more about the act of illegal entry and intended crime.
Harlon Moss
Jan 01, 2024

Is theft a lesser crime than burglary?

Typically, yes, because burglary includes the element of unlawful entry.
Harlon Moss
Jan 01, 2024

Can theft be committed without physically taking something?

Yes, like in cases of identity theft or embezzlement.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 01, 2024

What's the key element in proving theft?

Demonstrating the unlawful taking of property without consent.
Janet White
Jan 01, 2024

Can burglary happen in an unoccupied building?

Yes, occupancy is not a requirement for burglary.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 01, 2024

What's the difference in penalties for burglary and theft?

Burglary often carries harsher penalties due to the element of breaking and entering.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 01, 2024

Is borrowing without permission theft?

It can be considered theft if there's intent to deprive the owner temporarily.
Harlon Moss
Jan 01, 2024

Is breaking into a car burglary?

This is often classified as a separate offense, like vehicle burglary.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 01, 2024
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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