Ask anyone about the differences between robbery, theft and burglary and they’ll likely say they are all the same. But they aren’t. Here’s a rundown of the variations between the three crimes.
Robbery and theft are often the two most mistaken. Both involve stealing, but with significant differences.
Theft, also referred to as larceny, involves taking another person’s property to permanently deprive him or her of its use. Robbery is the same except the taking is done through force.
Burglary involves unlawfully entering a place, such as a house or commercial property, with the intent to commit a crime-like theft.
Although burglary occurs most often with the intent to steal something, an individual can also have the intent to assault or do something unrelated to taking another person’s property.
Stealing someone’s purse is a common example involving all three.
For instance, a person commits basic theft or larceny if he or she takes a co-worker’s pursue from her desk. A person commits robbery if he or she stops a woman on the street and takes her purse at gunpoint. A person commits burglary if he or she unlawfully enters a woman’s home and takes her purse from her kitchen table.
It’s important to note that these are general definitions. Each jurisdiction may include individual nuances of the law regarding each and the penalties associated.
Those with specific questions are encouraged to reach out to a skilled criminal defense attorney who can offer individualized guidance.