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What Are the Differences Between Theft, Larceny, Burglary, and Robbery?

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Although theft, larceny, burglary, and robbery are often used interchangeably by the public, they each have a distinct meaning and are punished differently by the law. If you have been convicted for any of these crimes, your penalties will vary greatly depending on which one you were arrested for. Knowing the differences between these offenses will help you defend yourself and understand your case better.

What Is Theft?

Theft encompasses many different areas. For example, there is identity theft, theft of intellectual property, theft of services, and theft of personal property. Theft, by definition, is taking someone’s “property” with the intent of permanently depriving the owner of its use. It can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the stolen goods. Misdemeanors can include fines of up to $500 and up to a year in jail. Once it has become a felony, you can deal with fines ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 and up to 10 years in jail.


Larceny is a type of theft that specifically deals with taking someone’s property that is capable of being possessed and carried away. Examples of larceny include shoplifting, receiving or possessing stolen goods, concealment of merchandise in a store, or larceny of motor vehicle parts.

What Is Burglary?

Burglary involves breaking into and entering a structure with the attempt to commit a crime, oftentimes theft. Other crimes that can be committed during a burglary are kidnapping, arson, and assault. 

The way a building is broken into doesn’t matter. If you broke a window to get in, used a key, or entered through an unlocked opening, it is still considered burglary. Burglaries can take place in homes, commercial buildings, vehicles, tents, or temporary dwellings. It doesn’t need to be a successful burglary to be charged with it. The simple act of breaking in will land you burglary charges. If you manage to steal, you will be charged with the additional crime of theft.

The penalties vary greatly. You can spend up to 10 years in jail, or even your entire life in certain cases for committing these crimes. Additionally, the maximum fine you could face is $50,000.

What Is Robbery?

Robbery is classified as a violent crime. It is the theft of property from a person using force or the threat of force. You must take the property from a person, but injury or physical violence is not required. Just the simple threat of force can have you convicted of robbery. Examples of robbery include mugging someone on the street, carjacking, and robbing a bank. Using a weapon is usually common but not necessary to be considered a robbery. Just the threat of force is enough.

Get a Speedy Release with ABC Bail Bonds 

If you have been convicted of any of these crimes, give ABC Bail Bonds a call. Our bondsmen work around the clock and will get working on your case as soon as you call. We service Houston and surrounding areas, and we help people who have committed all types of crimes. Our experienced and dedicated bondsmen will grant you a quick release!

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