Larceny vs. Theft: What's the Difference?

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Key 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.

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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 preciothe 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 person 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.

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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 includes 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 justify 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.

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Comparison Chart

BasisLarceny Theft
MeaningLarceny means unlawful taking other persons personal propertyTheft refers to unlawful taking of other person’s money, properties, personal identification. 
CrimeOne type of crimeAll type of crime
Type Two types of larceny that is petty larceny, grand larceny.Two types of theft that 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 thing that larceny and theft are the same things, but there is a difference. Larceny is just the 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 their own rules and regulations. There are four aspects of larceny; 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.

Following are some real-life examples of larceny:

  • Credit card fraud larceny
  • Insurance billing scam
  • Rapper attacks paparazzi

Examples of larceny

  • 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 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.  There are many types of theft:

  • Robbery

By use of power taking other person 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.

Theft is divided into two types that are petty theft and grand theft. Petty theft is punished less severely than robbery; robbery is a theft which is also considered a violent crime.

Real life cases of theft

  • Actress commits grand theft
  • Cupid commits identity theft

Key Differences

  1. Larceny means unlawful taking other persons personal property whereas Theft refers to 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.

 Conclusion

People think that larceny and theft are two terms having the same meaning, but they are different terms having a different meaning. In this article above we see the clear difference between larceny and theft.

Explanatory Video

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