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Burglary, robbery or theft? Different crimes involving stealing

In everyday conversation, people tend to use the words burglary, robbery and theft interchangeably. However, although all are crimes against property that is not yours, they are not the same. Neither are they the only classifications for stealing. Knowing the differences between these crimes according to New Hampshire law can help you understand and fight the charges you face.


A burglary involves illegally entering a property with the intent to commit a crime. You do not have to enter with force; the door can simply be unlocked. The crime does not have to be stealing either, nor do you actually have to go through with whatever the intended crime was. Trespassing and having bad intentions are enough for a burglary charge.


Robbery entails stealing property from someone by means of fear, violence or threat. If you possess a weapon, whether or not you use it, it is armed robbery. If you cause your victim injury, it is aggravated robbery.


The definition of theft is taking or controlling someone else's property with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property. It includes attempted theft, petty theft and grand theft. It is a broad term covering multiple property crimes, including theft of intangibles such as identity.

Types of theft

These are the different types of theft:

  • Embezzlement: This means fraudulently using property entrusted to you and usually applies to the business industry.
  • Extortion: Blackmail, threats, abuse of authority and any other coercive activity fall under this category.
  • Larceny: This refers to stealing tangibles.
  • Receipt of stolen property: Receiving stolen goods, even though you did not steal them, is also against the law.
  • Theft of lost property: It is illegal to keep property you know is lost or misdelivered.
  • Willful concealment: This is more commonly known as shoplifting. However, it does not require that you leave the premises with the concealed item. It also includes altering price tags and other activities meant to avoid paying the advertised price.

Whether the crime is a misdemeanor or felony depends on the value of the property or services you steal. If the value is $1,000 or below, it qualifies as a misdemeanor. If the value is above $1,000, it is a felony, with class B for values up to $1,500 and class A for higher values. It also depends on the type of theft. For example, robbery, burglary and embezzlement are felonies. Whether you face misdemeanor or felony charges, speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you find the best solution for your case.

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