Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Cary Stacy Smith & Li-Ching Hung & Cindy Tidwell
Theft is the act of taking property (physical or intellectual) from someone (including businesses and corporations) with the intent of keeping the item permanently. Various criminal codes throughout the United States subdivide theft into different areas, although the primary theme is identical: taking property, thus depriving the rightful owner of his or her goods. Within English common law, two precise categories of theft existed: petit larceny and grand larceny. A thin line separated the two, with the deciding factor resting on the value of the goods stolen. Grand larceny is a felony, while petit larceny is a misdemeanor. In common law, for theft (used interchangeably with larceny and stealing) to occur, specific circumstances had to be met: (a) Other ...