Theft: Illegally taking another persons property without their consent


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.

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.


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