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Criminal law the dishonest taking of property belonging to another person with the intention of depriving the owner permanently of its possession



(Russian, krazha), in criminal law, the secret stealing of property. The secrecy with which the property is taken, implying that the criminal is confident that his actions are not observed by the victim or other people, distinguishes theft from grabezh (open stealing) and robbery.

In the USSR the criminal codes of the Union republics establish separate liability for theft with the intent to gain possession of state or social property and theft with the intent to gain possession of personal property (for example, the Criminal Code of the RSFSR, arts. 89 and 144). Stricter punishment is prescribed for the theft of state or social property than for the theft of personal property. Liability for the theft of state or social property on an especially large scale or for the petty theft of such property is established by special norms (for example, arts. 931 and 96 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR).

Under the law the circumstances aggravating liability for theft are repeated theft, theft by a group of people in accordance with a prior agreement, theft using technical means (the latter only in the criminal codes of the RSFSR, Georgian SSR, and Tadzhik SSR), and theft causing significant loss to the victim (in theft of personal property). Especially aggravating circumstances are the commission of theft by a particularly dangerous recidivist or on a large scale (in theft of state or social property).

References in periodicals archive ?
While the consumer media occasionally has taken a somewhat humorous look at the antics of criminals, which includes the stripping of aluminum siding from houses, pilfering of manhole covers from city streets and the taking of statues and monuments, for many scrap recyclers, such thefts aren't a laughing matter.
All of us have seen Citibank use creativity and humor in its TV commercials to illustrate how identity theft damages the financial lives of its victims.
These statistics have led privacy-rights advocates to issue dire warnings about the growth of massive consumer databases, despite the fact that Internet hacking accounts for a small percentage of all thefts.
This represents the typical situation that confronts victims of these thefts as they report it to authorities.
Officials initially said that the sharp increase in auto thefts may be youngsters taking the vehicles for joy rides because the vehicles had been left with minimal or no damage near the sites of the thefts themselves.
Individual insurance companies are feeling the effects of more thefts.
Finally, the administrator and the rest of the staff working on the first floor corridor were informed of the petty thefts.
In spite of media hype, most identity thefts are not online cybercrimes but are usually committed offline by persons known to the victim.
Palmdale sheriff's station detectives, following the string of mail thefts, served four search warrants Tuesday morning at two Palmdale mobile home parks and made the five arrests.
Unfortunately, many of these illegal harvests or thefts go unreported, and those reported often remain unsolved.
Eventually, pawn shop records and a phone tip helped to pin the thefts on two employees who had been working in concert for quite some time.