Theft Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Theft, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Theft?

It is the common term used for the act of wrongly and dishonestly taking away someone elses’ property without his/her consent usually to dispose it off for monetary gains as well as depriving the real owner of it.It is also commonly used for crimes like tresspassing, embezzlement, looting, burglary etc though all of these have different methods of formation. It is also used as synonym to larceny also.

History and Meaning of Theft

Theft is a crime that has been punishable since ancient times. The term refers to the act of intentionally taking someone else's property without their permission, with the intention of permanently depriving them of that property. It is considered a criminal offense in most countries and is often prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the amount of value of the property stolen.

Examples of Theft

  1. Shoplifting from a store
  2. Stealing a bike from a public park
  3. A bank teller embezzling money from customers' accounts
  4. A car theft
  5. Online identity theft by stealing passwords and other valuable information.

Legal Terms Similar to Theft

  1. Robbery: Taking someone's property through force or threat of force.
  2. Burglary: Entering a building with the intent to commit a theft or other felony.
  3. Embezzlement: Taking advantage of a position of trust or authority to steal funds or assets from an organization or individual.