Difference Between Larceny vs. Theft

Main Difference

The main difference between larceny and theft is that larceny means unlawful taking other persons personal property whereas theft refers to the illegal taking of other person’s money, properties, personal identification.

Larceny vs. Theft

Larceny and theft are thought to be two different words having the same meaning; they have the same meaning in a way that larceny and theft are both unlawful acts, but there is a difference between larceny and theft. Theft is considered to be a very vast scope; theft includes taking everything unlawfully for any other person. Theft also includes crimes like larceny, robbery, burglary, shoplifting, fraud, embezzlement and looting on streets. Theft is the crime of stealing anything precious to us and non-precious without knowing that owner of that thing. Using someone’s personal property for our personal use is called larceny. Tangible items are not called under larceny. Robbery and larceny are types of theft crime. If we talk about robbery, robbery is taking other personal property without their presence and telling people that you own that property. There is also a difference between robbery and larceny; robbery includes the use of force whereas larceny sometimes also include the use for force. Snatching mobile phones is called robbery, and this is the most common theft.

Theft includes all crime including property crime, but larceny is just property crime. We can say this that theft is the more generic term. Stealing tangible and non-tangible objects are known are theft whereas stealing of tangible objects do not include in larceny. Having the intention of stealing other personal property is called larceny. There are also two types of larceny that include petty and grand larceny. Taking a small amount of property is called petty larceny whereas stealing property with higher amount is known as grand larceny. Petty larceny can be justified by fine but grand larceny demands for a case and jail. There are many types of theft; the most common type is embezzlement. The laws of both theft and larceny are different. Many states do not use different terms for crime; they use theft. But they are not the same in my jurisdictions.

Comparison Chart

LarcenyTheft
Larceny means unlawful taking other persons personal propertyTheft refers to the unlawful taking of other person’s money, properties, personal identification.
Crime
One type of crimeAll type of crime
Type
Two types of larceny that is petty larceny, grand larceny.Two types of theft is petty theft, grand theft.
Properties
Only non-tangible properties.Tangible and non-tangible properties.

What is Larceny?

Larceny means unlawful taking other persons personal property. People think that larceny and theft are the same things, but there is a difference. Larceny is just taking the personal property of a person. There are charges on the person who is accused of larceny. There are different laws for larceny; every state has set its own rules and regulations. There are four aspects of larceny; the first element is taking physical possession of the property. The second element is taking personal property without the presence of the owner, the third element using force to take personal property and last is permanently taking over the property of the owner. There is another term embezzlement that is considered to be the same term as larceny, but there is a difference between embezzlement and larceny.

Examples

  • Purse Snatching: This is the most common type of larceny, snatching purses on the road under the threat of guns is called purse snatching.
  • Shoplifting: Stealing things from the shop without paying is called shoplifting and is a type of larceny.
  • Pickpocketing: This is one of the most common and happens a lot in a crowded place. The victim is not aware that another person is stealing their purse from the pocket.

What is Theft?

Theft refers to the unlawful taking of other person’s money, properties, personal identification. Theft is a comprehensive term, and it includes all type of crimes like larceny, robbery, burglary, shoplifting, fraud, embezzlement and looting on streets.

Types

  • Robbery: By use of power taking other personal property.
  • Embezzlement: Theft of money, property, or other property by a person who you trust.
  • Burglary: Entering someone’s property without permission.
  • Fraud: When there is an agreement between two parties and one party deceives the other party it is usually called fraud.

Key Differences

  1. Larceny means unlawful taking other persons personal property whereas Theft refers to the unlawful taking of other person’s money, properties, personal identification.
  2. Larceny includes only one time of crime whereas theft is a broad term.
  3. Larceny is a type of theft.
  4. Two types of larceny that is petty larceny, grand larceny whereas two kinds of theft that are petty theft, grand theft.

Comparison Video

Author:

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

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