Theft and burglary are two categories of crime that usually, but not always, involve taking another person's property without the consent of the owner. In many cases, burglary is an aggravated form of theft.


Derived from the old English word for thief, theft is a general term used to describe the many different forms of stealing. It is one of the oldest crimes known to humans.

The modern American law of theft still shows its English origins. Using a crude notion of stealing that covered only the most obvious and direct deprivations, English law in the 1200s punished takings by force as robbery and takings of movable things by strangers as larceny. Addressing the typical thefts of a rural, agricultural society—the stealing of such things as ...

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