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The Difference Between Theft, Larceny, and Burglary in Bail Bonds

When arresting a person for taking another’s property, the police may lay a charge for larceny, theft, or burglary. Understanding the difference between these crimes and their legal implications can help you decide the appropriate course of action. In this guide, our expert team at Apex Bail Bonds discusses the difference between larceny, burglary, and theft.

Larceny vs. Theft vs. Burglary

Larceny, theft, and burglary are all crimes that involve taking another’s property without their permission. Distinguishing between these crimes can be challenging, as their definitions differ from state to state. For example, you may have noticed that the FBI sometimes refer to these crimes as larceny-theft to cover the reporting structures from all states in their publications and statistics.An example would be how Virginia classifies various crimes as B&E, larceny, or obtaining money by false pretense.

When discussing the difference between larceny and burglary bonds, one has to consider several factors, including:

  • The jurisdiction’s definition of these offenses
  • The method of stealing the property, for example, through trickery or by force
  • The type and value of the property that the offender took
  • The different classifications of the offense, for example, “grand” or “petty”

The sections below take an in-depth look at each type of crime and the applicable bail bonds.


Theft is an offense that consists of the following elements:

  • The offender intentionally takes the property that someone else owns
  • The owner doesn’t give the offender permission to take the property
  • The offender takes the property through trickery or by force

In most jurisdictions, theft is an umbrella or shorthand term for taking property with the intention to deprive the owner of the property permanently. The term “theft” can also refer to other offenses, such as larceny, burglary, extortion, embezzlement, or blackmail. Receiving stolen property can also constitute theft.

The deprivation of any property constitutes theft, including cash, physical property, intellectual property, securities, or information (identity theft).

In theft cases, the courts set a bail amount and order release conditions on a case-by-case basis.


In some states, larceny and theft have the same definitions. However, in other states, larceny is one type of theft.

In most jurisdictions, the primary distinction between larceny and theft is that the former only pertains to physical property.

When theft involves taking physical possession of another’s property and removing it, the offender commits larceny. For example, stealing a car or jewelry constitutes both larceny and theft.

On the other hand, the theft of financial assets or intellectual property may not constitute larceny. For example, when someone commits plagiarism, they may face a charge of theft but not larceny. A larceny bail bond amount depends on the property’s value and other factors, such as the defendant’s criminal history and whether they are a flight risk.


Burglary involves the unlawful entry of a building or other structure with the intention to commit larceny or theft. Under the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program definition of burglary, the entry doesn’t need to be forceful or successful for the act to constitute burglary.

For example, suppose a person enters a boathouse that stands open to steal property. In this case, if the boathouse belongs to someone else, and the intruder doesn’t have permission to enter the structure, the act meets the definition of burglary. The fact that the burglar didn’t need to break a window or pick a lock to gain entry is irrelevant.

The courts generally grant burglary bail bonds, with bail amounts reflecting the severity of the charges.

Offense Classifications

Whether theft, larceny, or burglary is a felony or misdemeanor charge depends on several factors, including the property’s value, the type of property, and the method of taking the property. For example, in North Carolina, the classifications of felony larceny are:

  • Third degree – property value up to $5,000
  • Second degree – property value between $5,000 and $50,000
  • Third degree – property value over $50,000

In this state, theft, larceny, or burglary is a felony if:

  • The defendant took the property directly from a person
  • The property that the defendant took includes incendiary devices, explosives, or firearms

These classifications differ between jurisdictions and affect the bail amounts the courts set.


24/7 Bail Hotline – Speak to a Bail Bondsman Now

Burglary and larceny-theft bail bonds can have substantial bail amounts. If the court granted your loved one bail on one of these charges, you need the bail bonds services we offer at Apex Bail Bonds. 

You can contact us at any time of the day or night, including weekends and holidays, to secure your loved one’s immediate release. Speak to one of our bail bondsmen now.

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