What Are the Different Types of Theft Crimes?

Posted on March 8th, 2023

Contrary to popular belief, theft isn’t just one crime. It’s a collection of multiple crimes because there are multiple ways to steal, some far worse than others. To make sure that offenders are punished accordingly, there are different charges for different types of theft. The side effect of having so many different types of theft crimes is that not everyone is charged correctly, leading to people receiving steeper sentences than their supposed actions deserve.

The criminal defense attorney at Kalinoski Law Offices has been protecting people from false charges for years. No matter what type of theft crime you’re being charged with, you can contact us for help. 

The Different Types of Theft Crimes

Theft crimes are differentiated by three important factors: how the theft is completed, where it is completed, and the effect it has on the victims. There is a lot of crossover between them, which has led to people understandably believing one or two types to be the same. It’s important to know the difference because none of them carry the same consequences.


Burglary is specifically when someone illegally enters a building or private property to commit a crime. While most people are charged with burglary with the intention of theft, burglary does not always have to be a theft crime. The charge itself comes from breaking and entering. Burglary charges that are not theft crimes are typically treated far worse and are of a greater degree.

Burglaries can receive a felony charge, which carries hefty prison time and large fines. If property was damaged or stolen during the burglary, you can be forced to pay restitution to replace or repair them. Restitutions are not included in the fines. 


Robberies are theft crimes that specifically occur when someone steals from another by force or threat of force. A victim or representative of the victimized entity has to be present for it to be a robbery. 

Robbery charges increase if someone is injured in the act. If someone isn’t injured, a robbery charge is a third-degree penalty, and it can be punished with seven years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. If someone is injured or nearly injured, the accused can face a second-degree felony and can be punished with ten years in prison, and a fine of up $25,000. When someone is seriously injured or nearly seriously injured, the accused can face a first-degree felony, which carries up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

Retail Theft/Shoplifting

In Pennsylvania, retail theft and shoplifting are the same. In fact, Pennsylvania law refers to retail theft as shoplifting. This is when someone steals items and products from a store, not cash or some form of money.

If you steal cash, debit cards, or credit cards from people or the register at the store, this is robbery, not shoplifting. Even if you steal from someone without them knowing, this would still be robbery and not shoplifting. You cannot shoplift from an individual.


While the previously mentioned types of theft crimes are blue-collar crimes, embezzlement is a white-collar crime. This is when someone attains assets legally and has the right to possess them, but uses them for unintended purposes. For instance, if someone were to take their company’s credit card to purchase lunch, but used it to buy jewelry, this would be embezzlement.

Embezzlement doesn’t have to carry criminal charges. A victim can sue an embezzler in civil court to get back the money they lost. Many will do this because criminal charges don’t always lead to restitution. Prosecutors can charge someone with criminal charges independently of a civil suit, but they don’t always.

How much someone embezzles greatly affects criminal punishment. It’s currently 1 year in prison and a fine of up to $2500 for embezzling $50 or less. You can receive up to 2 years in prison and a fine of up to $5000 for embezzling $50 to $200. Then it’s up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 for embezzling $200 to $2000. It’s also up to 7 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000 for embezzling $2000 or greater.


There are many different types of fraud, and all of them involve using deception to do or receive something. When you receive money or something of monetary value, the case of fraud is a theft crime. Often, fraud will include other kinds of crimes that are more serious than stealing. This includes falsifying an identity, which garners the accused more serious charges.

Depending on the severity of the fraud, someone can receive a misdemeanor or felony charge. Misdemeanor charges can lead to a year in a local jail, while felony charges can lead to multiple years in prison. If you’re being charged on the federal level, you can face 10 years or more in federal prison.

Contact the Criminal Theft Attorney at Kalinoski Law Offices

Our experienced criminal defense attorney has years of experience defending people from all kinds of different theft charges. Other attorneys can only specialize in one, but if you’re being charged with multiple accounts of theft, you need an attorney who understands all the different types of theft crimes. 

Theft crimes carry hefty and permanent punishments for those found guilty. Let us protect your freedoms, and contact us today so we can start forming a defense.

Category: Criminal Charges

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Craig Kalinoski
Craig Kalinoski

Craig P. Kalinoski is a respected attorney serving clients in Scranton, Pennsylvania. With a focus on Family Law, Criminal Defense, and Civil Rights, he has established himself as a top-rated legal professional. Recognized as a Rising Star and admired by peers, Craig's commitment to excellence sets him apart in the legal field.


We fight for the rights of our clients in a wide spectrum of practice areas, ranging from criminal defense to family law and personal injury.

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