Property can either be ‘Real’ or ‘Personal’. Real property is that which is affixed to the ground, such as a house or an apartment. Larceny is a crime associated with personal property. However, this term is liable to definition changes determined by attachment or severance. A real property cut off from the ground becomes a personal property. Similarly, a personal property attached to the ground becomes a real property.
‘Crimes Against Property’
These are crimes in which a defendant wrongfully acquires the property which belongs to somebody else. They include larceny, extortion, embezzlement, receipt of stolen property, robbery, and false pretenses.
What is Larceny?
Larceny can be defined as the illegal taking and bearing of someone’s property, with the intention of permanently dispossessing the owner of his property. The property could be money or goods. There is notably large differences between theft and larceny. If a person shoplifts and sells the goods, he is considered to have committed theft. However, if he shoplifts goods for his personal use, it is called larceny. Theft is a comprehensive term, which describes different types of property crime. Both tangible as well non-tangible objects are subject to theft. Larceny, on the other hand, implies seizing a person’s property in order to use it for one’s own purpose. An example is a person taking away someone’s laptop without permission, for his own use.
Objects are considered stolen if they have some significant economic value and can be sold in the market. Articles which have no economic value cannot be counted as robbed. When an entity is taken away, its price is calculated based on the place where the crime took place and its market value. Most states have distinct names for larceny.
Different Types of Larceny
Petty or ‘petit’ larceny is a crime, where a property amounting to a smaller price is being stolen. The maximum price of the stolen object can be less than $400 for it to be considered ‘petty’. If the person involved is convicted, he receives jail time or has to pay a fine, depending upon the magnitude of the crime.
Grand or ‘felonious’ larceny is when property valued at more than $400 is stolen. In New York, the amount of robbery, for it to be considered felony, is above $1,000. Those convicted of this misdemeanor are subject to prison time (crimes of larger magnitude invite longer time in prison operated by state governments or Federal Bureau). Besides imprisonment, wrongdoers are also liable for restitution payments, fines related to the crime, and court fees.
Examples of Larceny
Grabbing a purse or a handbag forcefully from a person, who is inattentive in most cases. If the offender uses force to instill fear in the victim and take away his property, then it is termed as robbery. In case of absence of fear and force, the crime is termed as larceny.
Owner of a property believes the offender about a recent or past fact which he represents falsely, to obtain the property of the owner. As a result of the victim’s belief in the false representation of the fact, the property is acquired by the culprit.
In this case, an individual shoplifts certain items from a store without paying for them, or switches price tags, thus paying an amount lesser than the actual value. It is considered to be a ‘misdemeanor’, as the property is of lesser worth.
Misappropriation of funds from a victim’s account is called ‘larceny by embezzlement’. The perpetrator is entrusted to hold the property of the victim. Initially, the perpetrator embezzles only a small amount in order to avoid the fraud from being detected. Once he realizes that the crime is going unnoticed, a large sum could be embezzled.
When a fraudster issues bad checks to an owner for acquiring his property, it is termed as ‘larceny by false check’. The check bounces at the bank, even when the property title has already been transferred in the name of the fraudster.
When a person acquires or withholds property of another by making a false promise, it is called ‘false promise’. The promise can be of ‘engaging in a particular way of conduct in the future’.
Acquiring Lost Property
When an individual acquires or withholds the lost property of another person, it is called ‘acquiring lost property’. In this case, the accused exercises control over a victim’s property, which he knows has been lost or misplaced.
An owner of a property is tricked by the convict, so as to obtain his property from him. The convict exercises possession over this property for some period of time. The use of any fraudulent device or artifice to trick comes under the definition of ‘larceny by trick’.
Stealing By Finding
A person may take possession of any abandoned article that he finds. This is also termed as ‘larceny by finding’.
Theft from Vending/Gaming Machines
Machines which are operated by inserting coins to get a candy or snack are often robbed. Same is the case with gaming machines, laundry machines, and parking meters.
This activity often happens in a crowded place, with the victim being unaware of it. The person involved in this crime is called a ‘pickpocket’. This can further be classified as petty or grand, depending upon the amount of money that has been stolen.
Robbery from Buildings
Certain buildings, such as religious institutions or schools, allow access to outsiders. Culprits are at benefit, as they do not need to enter these buildings forcefully.
‘Theft from Motor Vehicles’ and ‘Theft of Motor Vehicle Parts’
This includes robbery of MP3 players, laptops, cameras, cell phones, etc. Robbery of any vehicle accessories which are fastened either on the exteriors or interiors also come under this category. Rear view mirrors or radio antennas, CD player, etc., join the list.
These were the different types of larceny that can occur. The definition of larceny is based on the geographical location. Each state has its own terms and prosecution laws for this type of theft. It depends on whether one or multiple items have been robbed. In case of multiple items, it can be considered as multiple larcenies. ‘History of theft’ is a very crucial factor taken into account while a criminal’s sentence is being decided. ‘Repeat Offenders’ are liable for stricter punishments, whereas, criminals with no crime history and ready to take responsibility for their crime can expect some sort of leniency in their sentencing.