Find out the difference between larceny vs robbery


People are misguided by the word and definition of larceny vs robbery, and even Burglary and often interchange the use of these words with each other. Even though they all have the same meaning as theft, there is a considerable difference between them. It is a wrongful act and a crime to take someone else’s property with no intention of returning it.

What is larceny?

In larceny vs robbery, Larceny is the lowest form of crime in theft. It is based on four essential elements, which are crucial to proving an 

  1. An unlawful taking and carrying away 
  2. Someone else’s property
  3. Without their consent
  4. With an intent to permanently deprive them of their property
  • An unlawful taking and carrying away

The first stage of larceny is when the unlawful taking of a property doesn’t belong to the person taking it.  In circumstances where the property is immovable, it means that a property has been illegally occupied by a person, not providing any right to the person owning it. This can be in terms of an estate or apartment.

  • Someone else’s Property

The critical action in a crime of larceny is that the property should belong to someone else. If the property is given on rent or is borrowed by another party and the owner takes the property back is not larceny. It is because the property belonged to the person taking it in the first place. This is a crucial allegation that must be proved.

  • Without the owner’s consent

A property grabbed or taken by force against the owner’s consent is a strong reason for the case to be proved as larceny. Larceny cannot be established if there is proof that the owner intended to give the property or even transferred it.

  •  The intent of the taker

The taker should have an intent to take the property and deprive the owner of the right to use their property. The taker must display an intent to knowingly or unknowingly take the property or the right to the property and have no intention of returning it to the original owner.

What is a  Robbery?

Robbery is a crime that falls between larceny and burglary. In a theft, a person is being robbed, and there should be a  threat of force when the property is taken from the owner without their consent.  The two points that differentiate larceny vs robbery are the victim’s presence and the use or threat of force. The victim here knows about the act of taking the property without his/her consent.

  • Taking with an intent to steal
  • A property that belongs to others
  • Forcefully and against the will  of the owner
  • By Violence or threat

Force plays an integral part in the definition of robbery. If a person is deprived of their property, the force used to flee the crime scene is termed theft. However, if the person uses force to snatch property from the person by threatening or even showing a weapon is termed as robbery.

There is a second-degree robbery where there is a threat or forces used for the robbery. This crime can quickly escalate to a first-degree robbery if there is a use of a weapon like a firearm. If the victim is injured and is inflicted with severe injuries, it results in a first-degree robbery. In some states, first-degree robbery is known as an aggravated robbery.

Search and seizure in Robbery

The Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights protects a citizen from unreasonable search and seizure. It is for the property, persons and prohibits police officers from making unlawful arrests (seizures) and searches of the premises. 

It gives the person the right to disallow the search and seizure of their property without a proper warrant. Therefore a search and seizure cannot be conducted on a “belief” that the person has committed a crime.

Police can conduct a search and seizure if the person has been accused of a robbery and there is 

  • Substantial proof or witness to the crime of robbery
  • There is a proven tip to the police officer about the robber.
  • The witness knows the robber is confident about the identity of the thief.

There should be a valid basis for a search warrant to be issued against an accused. 


In standard larceny vs robbery cases, the essential distinguishing element is the force and treatment used in the crime. Suppose you have been wrongly accused of robber or larceny, due to various reasons but not limited to racial discrimination, color, or faith and creed. In that case, an experienced attorney can help you fight the injustice. One simply cannot be blamed and accused of a crime they have not attempted. Let alone their properties under search and seizure warrant. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will fight the case for you and get compensation for damages caused to property, any physical injury, or even damage to the person’s reputation.