Theft, Larceny and Grand Larceny: Stealing Property without Consent

Theft stealing
Beware of thieves.

Following is an overview of crimes related to theft, including a description of the general act of stealing and the charges of larceny and grand larceny.

What is Theft?

Theft, in its simplest terms is stealing. Theft occurs when a person takes, or steals, property or items that do not belong to them.  Theft is often used as an informal term for crimes against property, such as:

  • Burglary– usually involves breaking into someone’s home or car and stealing items
  • Embezzlement– occurs when individuals steal money or property from a business, usually a business they work for
  • Larceny– Taking another persons property away
  • Looting – occurs most often during times of natural disaster or rioting, where individuals enter homes or businesses and remove items or property that does not belong to them
  • Robbery – this type of theft usually occurs at gun point, or with the threat of harm
  • Shoplifting – occurs when property is illegally removed from a business
  • Fraud – fraud usually involves a plot or scheme to steal money or property from an individual or a group of people
  • Criminal conversion

In some jurisdictions, theft is considered to be synonymous with larceny; in others, the crime of theft has replaced that of larceny.

Someone who carries out an act of or makes a career of theft is known as a thief.

The act of theft is known by many other terms, such as stealing, robbing, and jacking.

Private eyes are often hired to investigate theft cases, embezzlement, and fraud.  Whether it is a stolen car, or stolen personal items, a skilled private investigator can help solve your theft case and possibly retrieve your stolen items.

Larceny: Taking or Stealing Personal Property

Definition of Larceny

Larceny is a form of theft. Larceny involves the taking and carrying away of personal property without the owner’s consent. The terms ‘petty larceny’ and ‘grand larceny’ refer to the value of items that were taken.

Petty Larceny

Petty larceny is a term used in many states for theft of a small amount of money or items that have little value (such as less than $500). Petty larceny is considered to be a misdemeanor and is usually punishable at maximum with a term in the county jail. States which only use the term “larceny,” often treat theft of a smaller amounts as a misdemeanor in sentencing.

Grand Larceny

Grand larceny is the crime of theft of another’s property (including money) that exceeds a certain value (for example, $500). Grand larceny is distinguished from petty (or petit) larceny in which the value is below the grand larceny limit.

Some states only recognize the crime of larceny, but draw the line between a felony (punishable by state prison time) and a misdemeanor (local jail and/or fine) based on the amount of the loot.

More Information

For more legal definitions, visit our Glossary of Legal and Investigation Terms.

To hire a private investigator in your area that specializes in investigating theft cases, visit our Private Investigator Directory.


  1. If someone stole 100,000 from your family would you want people to find out the truth about the pain you were feeling and want it made right for being cold hearted. Then threaten to kill you if you ever came around. Especially to a 14 year olds dad died in his arms after they pulled the plug on him and watched him take his last breath. Someone contact me please.

  2. Hi my name is Jeremy and I had 100,000 maybe more stolen from me when I was 14 after my dad passed away by my step mom and dads best friend. They sent the paperwork for me to contest my dads will to their I contacted my dads attorney before the 7 years of statue of limitations was up and told me what they did and his law firm did nothing because they knew where I was and I was alive and they kicked me out shortly after hea pAssed away and they stole my dads death benifits from me for over a year. They have been hiding in Springdale. And I need an investigator to prove what they did to file a civil suit against them for 24 years of pain and suffering mentally and emotionally. I’m spreading the word sense they have been located in Springdale. Please have someone contact me.


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