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Burglary is a crime related to theft.

In the United States burglary is a felony and involves trespassing, or entering a building with intent to commit any crime, not necessarily a felony or theft. Thus, a conviction for burglary may qualify as a conviction under a three strikes law or habitual criminal statute, even though only something of low value or nothing at all was stolen.

In the United Kingdom, burglary is dealt with in the Theft Act 1968 under section 9. Subsection (1)(a) says that any person who enters any building, part of a building, inhabited vehicle or vessel with the intent to steal, cause grievous bodily harm, criminally damage or commit rape will be guilty of theoffence of burglary. Subsection (1)(b) provides for a different type of burglary, where any person having entered any building, part of a building, inhabited vehicle or vessel commits a theft or inflicts gross bodily harm.

There is also an offence of aggravated burglary under §10 of the 1968 Theft Act. Maximum sentences for §9 offences are 10 years for a non-dwelling and 14 years for a dwelling. §10 offences carry a maximum of life imprisonment. Burglary is triable only on indictment in the UK.

Laws in many jurisdictions impose much harsher penalties for burglaries committed or attempted at night, or upon an occupied residence. Burglary laws in some jurisdictions also encompass certain types of shoplifting.


Theft (known in some jurisdictions as stealing) is in general unlawfully taking someone else'sproperty. In law, it is usually the broadest term for a crime against property. It is a general term that encompasses offences such as burglary, embezzlement, larceny, looting, robbery, and sometimescriminal conversion. Legally, theft is generally considered to be synonymous with larceny.

In the common law, theft is usually defined as the unauthorised taking or use of someone else's property with the intent to deprive the owner or the person with rightful possession of that property or its use.

As with other common law crimes, it is composed of two elements, the actus reus — the unauthorized taking or use — and the intent to deprive — the mens rea. Thus if one goes to a restaurant and by accident one takes someone else's hat or scarf instead of one's own hat or scarf, one has deprived someone of the use of their property and has taken the other person's property in an unauthorized manner, but without the intent to deprive the person (hum, this is a much nicer scarf than mine orhe'll never notice the spot on the hat until he gets home) there is no criminal act (actus reus) and thus no crime. Note that there may be civil liability, by depriving someone of their property you may be liable for damages in a civil court, but without proof of your intent to deprive, no criminal act has occurred.

Visit Wikipedia to further review or edit the terminology for this word.

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