There are many types of larceny.  Generally, the prosecutor must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt in order to prove the crime of larceny:

  • the defendant took someone else’s property;
  • the property was taken without the owner’s consent;
  • the property was moved in some fashion from where the owner left it;
  • at the time the property was taken, the defendant intended to permanently deprive the owner of the property; and
  • the property had a dollar value at the time it was taken.

This crime is known as a “specific intent crime”, meaning that the accused had to have the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the subject property; simply borrowing the item is not sufficient, and is a different crime.  If this intent is at issue in the case, the prosecutor can take advantage of a case that holds that the accused’s intent to deprive the owner can be established where the property was not returned in a reasonable time, or where the accused would only return the property if some compensation was to be paid by the owner.

The following examples have been used by courts to define the concept of permanently depriving the owner of property, where that issue is contested:

  • withholding the property for a time period sufficient that the owner loses significant value;
  • disposing of the property in such a fashion that the owner is unlikely to ever get it back;
  • to keep the property with the intent to only return it to the rightful owner only if that owner leases it or buys it back, or pays a “reward” fee;
  •  sell, give, transfer, convey or promise any interest in the property to another person; or
  • subject the property to a claim of a third person that is not the rightful owner of the property.

Depending on the circumstances of the case, there are many classifications of larceny.  For example, there is larceny from the person when the property is removed directly from a person; larceny from a building where the property is removed from a building; larceny from a vehicle, etc…

There is also larceny by trick where the property is removed by the use of some trick to defraud the person out of his or her property.  False pretenses is also considered a subset of larceny as is the various degrees of retail fraud.