How Many Different Types of Stealing Are There?

Petty theft, robbery, embezzlement, knowing reception of stolen property, identity theft, burglary and intellectual property theft are seven common types of theft. Theft comprises any unlawful taking of another person’s property without his permission.

Each of the categories of theft comes with multiple degrees of incrimination. For example, larceny or petty theft varies from minor misdemeanor-worthy shoplifting to the more serious grand theft, such as grand theft auto. The seriousness of the offence depends on the location from which the stolen item was taken, the type of stolen property and if any direct harm was inflicted on others during the theft. Robbery is larceny with intimidation, violence or threats to unlawfully obtain another’s property. It warrants a much heavier penalty.

Identity theft involves the stealing of another person’s identity, usually in digital form, either to impersonate the victim or to sell the identity to others for monetary gain. The usage of another person's name, bank account, credit card or other form of personally identifying information to unknowingly make a purchase in his name all comprise identity theft. This form of theft is classified as a federal crime, punishable by jail time and forfeiture of properties bought with the stolen identity.