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Burglary, Theft & Larceny

Burglary Theft & Larceny Laws in Pennsylvania

Theft = Larceny in Pennsylvania

The state of Pennsylvania uses the terms ‘theft’ and ‘larceny’ interchangeably and describes both as the unauthorized possession of property from another with the intention of permanently divesting it from the owner. An individual can also be charged with this crime if they are found in possession of stolen property which they know is stolen and which they do not have any intention of returning to the rightfu
l owner.

According to the laws of this state, any kind of offense that involves taking movable and tangible property without the owner’s consent or knowledge in order to gain control over it is considered theft.

Theft of Movable property

Movable property refers to any property that can be moved or relocated. Under Pennsylvania law, if an individual exercises unlawful control over such items by taking it without the owner’s consent, then he/she will be charged with theft. Examples of such properties include store items or any item that can be moved. Shoplifting is one such crime.

Theft of Immovable property

An individual is guilty of theft of an immovable piece of property if he/she unlawfully transfers or forces unlawful control over it with the intention of benefiting someone else or a third party who is also not entitled to it. Immovable objects can include real estate, property, a home etc.

Theft by Deception

Theft via deception is found when an individual intentionally either creates a false impression regarding intention, law or value or prevents another person from getting information that could aid him/her in making a transaction. It can also come about if a person fails to clear a deception he/she enforced or which he/she knows is deceiving another person.

Theft of property mislaid, delivered or lost by mistake

If a person receives property that is meant for someone else and he/she knows it is not theirs’ to own and he/she fails to return it to the rightful owner, then he/she can be charged with theft. The same is the case if the individual deliberately withholds the property from the rightful owner.

Penalties and Punishment for Theft

Under Pennsylvania law, if a property is not taken by force or under threat and its value does not exceed $50, then the offense is termed a third-degree misdemeanor rather than a theft. If the property exceeds that amount but is less than $200, then the offense will constitute a second-degree misdemeanor. However, if the property or amount stolen exceeds $2,000 or the property that is stolen is a vehicle or vessel of any kind, then it will be considered a second-degree felony under the law.

The penalties can range between 90 days in jail to 7 years depending on the magnitude of the theft involved. However, thefts that are committed during a natural disaster are considered to be second-degree felonies. If force is used during the theft, then the offense is usually upgraded to a robbery which carries its own penalties.