Different Types of Theft Crimes

If you have been accused of stealing or “permanently borrowing without permission” something in the state of New York, it helps being able to understand the details of your charges. While the concept of theft seems pretty straightforward, the action of stealing can actually be separated into several different categories, each with its own definition and potential penalties upon conviction.

To give you a basic understanding of the differences among the charges, we discuss them in more detail below. If you know you need legal assistance now regarding theft charges, you are encouraged to contact the Law Office of Kevin P. O'Donnell and speak to our Queens criminal defense attorney today.

Top 5 Most Common Forms of Theft Crimes

(presented in no particular order)

  1. Shoplifting: Sometimes called petty theft, shoplifting is often regarded as a juvenile crime due to the fact that most perpetrators are younger than 18. As long as an item is valued under $1,000 – or essentially everything that could be stolen from a retail store or convenience stop – it could be considered petty theft. Penalties are generally minimal, especially if the item is valued under $100.
  2. Burglary: The stealing of an item while unlawfully trespassing upon an empty property. Burglary conjures up images of a cat burglar sneaking through the night to take a valuable piece of jewelry from a museum after hours, or to crack into the safe of an assumedly-empty abode, due to the fact that burglary is often categorized by a lack of violence. If a weapon or violence is involved, it is often re-categorized as robbery. Penalties for burglary in the lesser degree could include 7 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
  3. Robbery: Typically defined as the forceful taking of a piece of property or currency directly from a person or while the victim is present and aware of the theft. The introduction of a weapon, which could be a blade, firearm, blunt instrument, and so on, will escalate the charges to armed robbery, which is often considered a felony violation by default. Penalties upon conviction, if a felony, will include at least one year in prison.
  4. Fraud: Sometimes called a white collar crime, fraud is defined as the organized attempt to take money, finances, or funds from someone through deception. It is now more typical for fraud to take place over the internet or through digital means than in person, such as with check fraud. Credit card theft and identity theft are also considered forms of fraud.
  5. Embezzlement: Also a white collar crime, embezzlement is the act of taking funds entrusted to you for a specific purpose and using it for a different purpose, especially if it is done for personal gain. For example, if you were given control over a company’s payroll department and began writing yourself paychecks that paid you more than you had rightfully earned, you would be committing small scale embezzlement. In many cases, embezzling is filed against CEOs that reallocate millions of investor money for their own expenses.
Categories: Theft Crimes
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Law Office of Kevin P. O’Donnell
Queens Criminal Defense Attorney

125-10 Queens Boulevard, Suite 15
Queens, NY 11415. (888) 715-1735| Local Phone: (718) 285-9355.