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Burglary vs. Larceny: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Burglary involves illegally entering a property with intent to commit a crime inside, while larceny is the unlawful taking of someone's personal property without consent.
Burglary vs. Larceny

Key Differences

Burglary is characterized by the unlawful entry into a structure, like a home or business, with the intent to commit a crime, typically theft. Larceny, on the other hand, is the act of unlawfully taking personal property from someone with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of it.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023
In burglary, the focus is on the unauthorized entry and the intent to commit a crime within that entry. This crime does not necessarily have to be theft; it can be any criminal act. Larceny differs as it specifically involves taking someone's property and does not require unlawful entry into a property.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023
The legal consequences for burglary often depend on factors like the time of the break-in or whether the burglar was armed. Larceny, however, is usually classified based on the value of the stolen property, with petty larceny referring to lesser values and grand larceny to higher values.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023
Burglary can be committed in both residential and commercial properties. It requires proving the defendant's intent at the time of entry. Larceny does not involve trespassing or breaking and entering but focuses on the act of taking and the intent to steal.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023
Both crimes, burglary and larceny, are serious offenses with significant legal repercussions. However, burglary is often seen as more severe due to the potential for additional crimes like assault or vandalism during the act, whereas larceny is strictly related to theft.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Unlawful entry with intent to commit a crime
Unlawful taking of property without consent
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Required Elements

Entry, Intent, Structure
Taking, Property, Intent
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Intent at Crime

Intent to commit any crime inside
Intent to permanently deprive owner of property
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Location Relevance

Requires entering a building or structure
No entry or trespassing required
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Nov 15, 2023

Legal Classification

Based on entry and intent
Based on value of stolen property
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Burglary and Larceny Definitions

Burglary

Burglary involves breaking into a property to commit theft or another felony.
The unsolved burglaries in the neighborhood have residents worried.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Larceny

Larceny refers to the secret taking of another's property to convert it.
The employee committed larceny by embezzling funds.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Burglary

Burglary refers to entering a closed business for illegal purposes.
The surveillance video showed the burglary of the closed shop.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Larceny

Larceny is the theft of personal property without the owner's permission.
She was charged with larceny for stealing a wallet.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Burglary

Burglary is illegally entering a building with the intent to commit a crime.
He was arrested for burglary after breaking into a store at night.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023
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Larceny

Larceny involves taking someone's property with the intent to keep it.
The court found him guilty of grand larceny.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Burglary

Burglary is the unauthorized entry into a residence with criminal intent.
The police caught the burglar during a home burglary.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Larceny

Larceny is the act of stealing goods without force.
Shoplifting small items is considered petty larceny.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Burglary

Burglary is the crime of entering a locked vehicle to steal.
Car burglaries have risen in the city's parking lots.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Larceny

Larceny is the illegal acquisition of someone's property without aggression.
The police arrested him for larceny after he snatched a purse.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Burglary

The act of entering another's premises without authorization in order to commit a crime, such as theft.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Larceny

The unlawful taking and removing of another's personal property with the intent of permanently depriving the owner; theft.
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Oct 19, 2023

Burglary

An instance of this
There were 10 burglaries in the area last month.
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Oct 19, 2023

Larceny

The unlawful taking of personal property as an attempt to deprive the legal owner of it permanently.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Burglary

The crime of unlawfully breaking into a vehicle, house, store, or other enclosure with the intent to steal.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Larceny

A larcenous act attributable to an individual.
That young man already has four assaults, a DUI, and a larceny on his record.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Burglary

(law) Under the common law, breaking and entering of the dwelling of another at night with the intent to commit a felony.
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Oct 19, 2023

Larceny

The unlawful taking and carrying away of things personal with intent to deprive the right owner of the same; theft. Cf. Embezzlement.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Burglary

Under the Model Penal Code, entering a building or occupied structure with purpose to commit a crime therein, unless the premises are at the time open to the public or the actor is licensed or privileged to enter. Model Penal Code § 221.1.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Larceny

The act of taking something from someone unlawfully;
The thieving is awful at Kennedy International
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Burglary

Breaking and entering the dwelling house of another, in the nighttime, with intent to commit a felony therein, whether the felonious purpose be accomplished or not.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Burglary

Entering a building unlawfully with intent to commit a felony or to steal valuable property
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Oct 19, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Is shoplifting considered larceny?

Yes, shoplifting is a form of larceny.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Is larceny the same as theft?

Yes, larceny is essentially another term for theft.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Does burglary always involve theft?

No, burglary can involve any crime committed after illegal entry.
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Shumaila Saeed
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What constitutes a burglary?

Burglary involves illegal entry into a property with the intent to commit a crime.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Can burglary occur in an unlocked property?

Yes, as long as there's illegal entry with criminal intent, it's burglary.
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Nov 15, 2023

Can larceny be a felony?

Yes, larceny can be a felony, especially in cases of high-value theft.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Is larceny punishable by jail time?

Yes, depending on the severity and value of the stolen items.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Does burglary require breaking something to gain entry?

Not necessarily, it just requires unauthorized entry.
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Nov 15, 2023

What is the difference between burglary and home invasion?

Home invasion is a type of burglary with occupants present and often involves more violent crimes.
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Does larceny require premeditation?

Not necessarily, it can be a spontaneous act.
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What's the difference between grand larceny and petty larceny?

It's based on the value of the stolen items, with grand larceny involving higher values.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Is it larceny if the item taken was not valuable?

Yes, larceny applies regardless of the item's value.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Do burglary convictions require proof of stolen goods?

No, convictions hinge on unlawful entry and intent to commit a crime.
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Nov 15, 2023

Is pickpocketing considered larceny?

Yes, pickpocketing is a form of larceny.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Can someone commit burglary in a public building?

Yes, if they illegally enter with intent to commit a crime.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Is entering an unlocked vehicle for theft considered burglary?

Yes, it's a form of burglary known as car burglary.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Can larceny occur with intangible property?

Typically, larceny involves tangible property, but laws may vary by jurisdiction.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Are there different degrees of burglary?

Yes, the severity depends on factors like time and whether weapons were involved.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Can larceny be committed without the victim being present?

Yes, larceny often occurs in the victim's absence.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Can burglary charges be dropped if nothing was stolen?

Burglary charges can still apply due to the illegal entry and intent.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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