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Indianapolis Criminal & OWI Lawyers > Blog > Burglary > The Words Theft, Burglary, & Robbery Mean Different Things

The Words Theft, Burglary, & Robbery Mean Different Things


Theft, burglary, and robbery are phrases that people use interchangeably, but they are not interchangeable. They each mean different things. They each signify completely different crimes with different elements, and they mean that a different thing happened.

When we talk about theft, burglary, and robbery, we are talking about taking of property, and the question is how was that property taken? Shoplifting is a classic example for theft. Going into a building to take property is burglary. When something is being taken from another by some level of force, that’s robbery.

Example of Theft

Chad goes to Walmart. He’s hungry and wants to grill out. He goes to the freezer section and selects a steak. He places the steak in his pants and then exits the store without paying.

If Chad went into someone else’s home, found his way to the kitchen, goes to the freezer, and selects a steak. This may or may not be theft. It depends on how Chad got into the home. If Chad was invited in, or if the door was left propped open so that Chad did not have to use any force to enter, then that is also theft. But, if the door was closed and Chad had to use any force at all to push it open. Or in fact, even if your door was open but not open enough for somebody to walk all the way through, and so Chad had to use a little bit of force to push the door open a little bit further so he could come in, then it’s burglary.

Example of Burglary

Chad is addicted to cigarettes and really enjoys them. He waits until the tobacco shop closes. Then he climbs up onto the roof with a ladder, cuts a hole in the roof, comes down through the roof into the insulation, comes down through the paneled ceiling, loads up a backpack full of smokes. Then he repels with a bungee cord straight out of the tobacco shop back out onto the roof. That is burglary.

Example of Robbery

During store hours, Chad enters a cigarette shop and goes up to the cash register. Chad then threatens the cashier that he’s going to kill him if he doesn’t give him all the cartons of cigarettes. Then Chad takes them and leaves. That is robbery.

Defending Theft, Burglary, and Robbery Charges in Indiana

The criminal defense attorneys at Rigney Law defend theft, burglary, and robbery charges. If you are being charged with a crime and want the best possible outcome, consult with a criminal defense attorney. Our criminal attorneys offer free consultations and our office is open 24/7.

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