What is the difference between robbery, theft and burglary?

On Behalf of | Aug 16, 2021 | criminal defense |

Stealing items from a place or person is a crime categorized in many different ways. Depending on the circumstances behind the theft, a person accused of stealing may face one or more of several types of charges.

Robbery, theft and burglary are all different categories of criminal activity involving property. Each charge carries its own penalties.


Robbery is a serious charge. This is because it involves the theft of an item from an individual by applying force or threat of force to coerce a victim into handing the item over. This includes items that a person is holding onto, such as a purse. It can also include things that are under an individual’s control, like the safe in a bank or the cash register at a store.


Sometimes called larceny, grand theft or petty theft, this is one of the most common crimes. Committing theft involves taking another person’s possession without permission. This crime only applies to tangible property such as merchandise or goods from a store. Also, the thief must intend to permanently deprive the owner of this item. If a person uses deceit to get someone to hand over an item willingly, this is also theft.


Burglary involves entering any structure with the intention of committing a crime. However, burglary is not like theft and robbery because the person does not need to steal anything. The act of entering a building is enough for someone to face a burglary charge.

In fact, there are some cases in which people may be planning a different crime when entering the premise. Their planned activity may have nothing to do with theft. It is also important to note that burglary charges do not imply that the burglar used force. Simply pushing open an unlocked door or window is enough for someone to face a burglary charge.