What is Larceny?


What is larceny? Want to understand the different types of theft changes? You’re in the right place.

Larceny is basically the legal term for stealing. It is the act of taking property that belongs to another person or business without their consent. ‘Larceny’ is not actually used in Victorian law anymore—it is quite an old term. However, the types of charges that previously fell under the realm of larceny remain a crime.

Under the law in Victoria, stealing can range from minor shoplifting offences, right through to armed robbery. We take a look at the different types of ‘stealing’ crimes in Victoria.


Under the Crimes Act 1958, theft is defined as “a person steals if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it.” An important element of this definition is the intention of permanent deprivation.

Depending on the value of what is stolen and other elements, the crime of theft can bring a punishment of up to 10 years imprisonment. You can avoid a guilty charge if you can prove that you did not intend to attain the property dishonestly and reasonable reason to believe that what you were doing was not illegal.

Robbery and Armed Robbery

Robbery specifically refers to acts of theft that involve the use of force or threat of the use of force on another person. The Crimes Act 1958 states that “a person is guilty of robbery if he steals, and immediately before or at the time of doing so, and in order to do so, he uses force on any person or puts or seeks to put any person in fear that he or another person will be then and there subjected to force.” In comparison to the simpler charge of theft, a person found guilty of robbery can face up to 15 years imprisonment.

Armed robbery is considered to be a robbery that during which the offender is in possession of a firearm or other weapon. For armed robbery, the offender can find themselves in prison for up to 25 years.

Burglary and Aggravated Burglary

Theft becomes burglary when the offender has trespassed into a property with intent to steal or commit another offence. Burglary is also applied regarding a vehicle or vessel that which someone inhabits, whether that individual is present at the time of the burglary or not.

Aggravated burglary, as the name suggests, is a burglary during which the offender possesses a firearm or other weapon, or is a burglary during which another person was present in the area begin burgled. Standard burglary charges can bring in a punishment for up to 10 years imprisonment while aggravated burglary can see the offender given up to 25 years in prison.


Fraud is the term used to apply to cases in which an individual has used deception and/or dishonesty to illegally obtain another’s property. Impersonating another’s identity, telling lies and gaining access to certain areas under false pretences would be considered deception.

Fraud is a broad term and can be applied to many circumstances during which dishonesty has been actively employed by the offender for material or financial gain. The maximum penalty for fraud is up to 10 years imprisonment.

If you would like more information about larceny and theft in Victoria or need help, please contact us.

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