Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Theft Definition:

To steal an item of property.

Related Terms: Larceny, Shoplifting, Steal, Robbery

"Unlawfully appropriating property with intent to deprive the owner of property".


Texas Penal Code, Title 7, ¶31.03


"Every one commits theft who fraudulently and without color of right takes, or fraudulently and without color of right converts to his use or to the use of another person, anything, whether animate or inanimate, with intent:

  • To deprive, temporarily or absolutely, the owner of it, or a person who has a special property or interest in it, of the thing or of his property or interest in it;
  • To pledge it or deposit it as security;
  • To part with it under a condition with respect to its return that the person who parts with it may be unable to perform; or
  • To deal with it in such a manner that it cannot be restored in the condition in which it was at the time it was taken or converted.

 "A person commits theft when, with intent to steal anything, he moves it or causes it to move or to be moved, or begins to cause it to become movable.
"A taking or conversion of anything may be fraudulent notwithstanding that it is effected without secrecy or attempt at concealment."

Extracted from Criminal Code of Canada, ¶322.

Synonymous with the term larceny.

In Scott Lynch's 2006 novel Lies of Locke Lamora, the crooked priest Father Chains says: "The entire city of Camorr is full of idiots running around and getting hung all because they think that stealing is something you do with your hands."

The main character Loche Lamora asks: "Um, what do you steal with Father Chains?"

Father Chains tapped two fingers on the side of his head then grinned widely: "Brains and a big mouth, my boy."

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