Difference WikiEnglishWords

Difference Between Larceny and Theft

Main Difference

The main difference between Larceny and Theft is that Larceny is the act of stealing tangible things, whereas the word Theft is used for taking both tangible and intangible items.

Larceny vs. Theft

All larceny can be considered as theft. All the theft will not be considered larceny. Larceny is a kind of stealing in which the stolen items can be taken from one place to another, and it can be a TV, jewelry item, money in the form of cash, and other tangible things. Theft is a kind of stealing referring to the general description of all types of stealing, and it can be intellectual property, identity, and other intangible things. Larceny is defined as “The unlawful expropriating of someone’s property without his consent permanently.” Theft is defined as the unlawful taking possession over someone’s property with the intention of not returning it.

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Larceny is the action of stolen physical and tangible things. The word theft is used for stealing both tangible and intangible items. Larceny occurs when someone takes away others’ things without his/her consent and deprive the owner of his property permanently. Theft crime occurs when someone carries others’ property away by the intention of keeping it permanently, takes money/property without authorization, etc.

Comparison Chart

LarcenyTheft
The unlawful expropriating of someone’s property without his consent permanently is called larcenyThe illegal taking possession over someone’s property with the intention of not returning it is called theft
Stolen Items
Can be taken from one place to another, e.g., TV, jewelry item, money in the form of cash, etcIt can be intellectual property, identity, property, etc
Things Stolen
Tangible thingsTangible and intangible things
Interchangeable Terms
Can be called theftNot all theft is larceny
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What is Larceny?

A larceny is an unlawful act of taking someone else’s possessions without his/her consent. The term larceny must have the following four elements to fit in the definition; it must have an unlawful taking/carrying away someone else’s property, the owner’s unwillingness, depriving the owner of his/her property permanently. Under the laws of some states, the definition of larceny differs between jurisdictions. Larceny falls under the common or general category of theft.

Larceny is categorized into degrees as the first, second, and third-degree larceny. The jurisdiction has varying penalties for these degrees. These degrees are usually distinguished by the value of the items taken, with the first-degree larceny representing the most significant amount of this value. Larceny is defined as “The unlawful expropriating of someone’s property without his consent permanently.” Examples of larceny include stealing artwork from a museum, theft of an automobile from the road or house, burglary of a wallet by pickpocketing, etc.

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Types of Larceny

  • Felony: A serious crime, have one year or more prison sentence, fine imposed for the commission of the crime, often referred to as ‘grand theft.’
  • Misdemeanor: Less severe than a felony, imprisonment of almost one year
  • Grand Larceny: A term used by some jurisdictions to describe the theft of a substantial amount
  • Petit Larceny: A theft of a smaller amount or smaller valued item

What is Theft?

Theft is defined as the unlawful taking possession over someone’s property with the intention of not returning it. Theft is the most common crime around the world. Legally it is considered wrong and has penalties. The person who takes the property is commonly known as the thief who intends to use the property for his use. Sometimes a thief sells the property to another person. In a theft, the owner of the property never gets his property back. However, if the police is involved, it catches the thief and takes the possessions of the owner from it. If the thief had already sold them, then the court demands an alternate. Theft does not only include the theft of property, but it can also be the theft of identity, name, vehicles, jewelry, and the like.

Theft is the taking of anyone’s personal, tangible, or intangible property. It usually involves money, physical goods, physical object, identity, or name. For example, stealing a brand’s name, stealing someone’s vehicle, jewelry, etc. are all theft. Committing anything against the owner’s interest is theft. However, if someone takes a thing with the honor’s permission, it would not be considered theft. But if he tries to keep it with trickery and to have the intention of not returning it, then it would also be theft. It can be anything of daily use, cash or gadget, or even clothes, etc. Shoplifting is an example of theft. Kinds of theft are petty theft and grand theft.

Key Differences

  1. Larceny is a kind of stealing in which the stolen items can be taken from one place to another. It can be a TV, jewelry item, money in the form of cash, and other tangible things, whereas theft is a kind of stealing referring to the general description for all types of stealing. It can be intellectual property, identity, and other intangible things.
  2. All larceny can be considered as theft; on the other hand, not all theft will be known as larceny.
  3. Larceny is the act of stealing tangible and physical things. In contrast, the word theft is used for taking both tangible and intangible items.
  4. Larceny occurs when someone takes away others’ things without his/her consent and deprives the owner of his property permanently, while theft crime occurs when someone carries others’ property away by the intention of keeping it permanently, takes money/property without authorization, etc.
  5. Larceny has varying degrees; on the flip side, theft has different types.

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Conclusion

Larceny and theft are the two types of crimes that are very common. Both the terms are different from each other and are not used interchangeably. Larceny is to steal tangible things, whereas theft is to steal tangible as well as intangible things.

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