Let’s start with theft. Minnesota Statute 609.52 details various types of theft. One of the most common “thefts” is laid out in Subdivision 2(a)(1) which states: whoever “intentionally and without claim of right takes, uses, transfers, conceals, or retains possession of movable property of another without the other’s consent and with intent to deprive the owner permanently of possession of the property” has committed a theft.
The classic definition of theft means, if you take something that doesn’t belong to you with the intent to keep it, you have committed a theft. For example, if I take a steak from the grocery store, hide it in my coat, and walk out the store, I have committed a theft.
The value of the item taken determines if the theft is a misdemeanor, a gross misdemeanor, or a felony. Up to $500 is a misdemeanor, over $500 and up to $1,000 is a gross misdemeanor, and over $1,000 is a felony.
Robbery is different. Think of robbery as a theft, but with a robbery, you are taking the property directly from the person. If it is taken without any threat of force or resistance, it is called a theft from person. If there is a threat of force, then it becomes simple robbery. If it is done with any sort of weapon or the threat of a weapon, then it becomes an aggravated robbery.
Moving from a theft, to a theft from person, to a simple robbery (theft by threatening violence), to an aggravated robbery (theft using a weapon), makes the punishment harsher at each step along the way.
Burglary is yet again different. Think of burglary as a theft, but with a burglary you are taking the property from a building or a home, and you entered the building or home without consent, or you lied to get into the building. For example, I pretend that I am a maintenance worker in order to get into an office building to steal items.
Depending upon whether the building is a commercial building, a church, a school, or a home determines how serious the burglary is. And, if you steal from a home, and somebody is present, that makes it more serious as well.
So, there you have it. Theft is taking property that doesn’t belong to you. If it is directly from a person, it becomes more serious as a theft from person. If you threaten to use force or use a weapon, it becomes a robbery. And lastly, if you take the property from a building or a home (entering without consent) it becomes a burglary.
If you are facing a criminal change, consult an attorney for help understanding what the charge means.