Theft is a general term referring to the physical removal of an object capable of being stolen without the consent of the owner with the intention of depriving the victim of the property permanently. This could consist of the thief keeping, destroying, selling, or abandoning the stolen property. Larceny is also a term closely related to that of theft. In some cases, it is regarded as a separate offense. The elements of larceny are very similar to that of theft and include the unlawful taking of someone else’s property without their consent while having the intent to deprive the owner of their property permanently. Another category under theft is embezzlement, defined as the theft or misappropriation of funds placed in one’s trust or belonging to one’s employer. Embezzlement most commonly occurs in the corporate field. The employee may have been given the responsibility to manage or look after the owner’s funds, only to misappropriate their assets for the employee’s personal gain. This could happen with accountants or office managers.
However, embezzlement does not have to always have to do with funds. The alteration of company property into personal property, such as with computers or laptops, could also be considered embezzlement. This is different because there is no trespassing required with embezzlement. It involves an offender who lawfully possesses the money, but does not give it back for illegal reasons. They convert or take the property taken for their own use with no intentions of returning it to the rightful owner. With the funds, the owner might use, sell, damage, or withhold them. With theft, if the value of the property taken is below a certain value specified by law, the crime is considered to be “petty theft” and is usually categorized as a relatively minor crime, or a misdemeanor for first time offenders.
They are usually punishable by a fine and maybe jail time. Although petty theft is not considered as severe as grand theft, the consequences can be harsh in certain circumstances, such as with repeat offenders. Petty theft occurs most commonly with shoplifting, or theft from a retail store. Some examples of petty theft include “dining-and-dashing”, or not paying for food consumed in a restaurant, or switching price tags so that the offender does not have to pay as much for merchandise. On the other hand, “grand theft” is meant for larger amounts and is a felony, which usually results in more severe consequences for the offender. Another type of theft is robbery, which is the commission of theft in circumstances of violence. It often involves threatening force in order to steal or to secure escape. An example of theft is someone stealing an automobile and selling the stolen car or its parts.
Other types of theft include extortion, theft of services, or identity theft. A common defense for theft is the lack of specific intent required to commit the crime, such as borrowing. For example, if someone were accused to stealing someone’s phone, it must be proven that they intended to permanently deprive the owner of their phone and not just borrowing it with the intentions of returning back.