The crimes of theft, robbery, and burglary are commonly lumped together because most people believe they involve the unlawful taking of someone else’s property. While theft and robbery are very similar crimes that involve the taking or attempted taking of personal property, burglary is slightly different.
Theft, sometimes known as larceny, petty theft, grand theft, or by similar names depending on the state in which you live and the circumstances of the crime, is one of the most commonly committed crimes. To commit a theft, you have to take someone else’s property without the owner’s consent and with the intention to permanently deprive the owner of its use or possession.
Theft is taking something that doesn’t belong to you, but a robbery is taking something from a person and using force, or the threat of force, to do it. Robbery, like theft, involves taking someone’s property without the owner’s consent, but it has some elements that theft doesn’t require.
Though burglary is often a crime that involves theft, you don’t necessarily have to take any property to be convicted of this crime. To commit a burglary you must unlawfully enter a structure or dwelling with the intent to commit a crime within it. It’s enough to make such an entry without actually committing a crime within the building, and the crime you intend to commit does not have to be theft or robbery.
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