LARCENY, crim. law. The wrongful and fraudulent taking and carrying away, by
one person, of the mere personal goods, of another, from any place, with a
felonious intent to convert them to his, the taker's use, and make them his
property, without the consent of the owner. 4 Wash. C. C. R. 700.
2. To constitute larceny, several ingredients are necessary. 1. The
intent of the party must be felonious; he must intend to appropriate the
property of another to his own use; if, therefore, the accused have taken
the goods under a claim of right, however unfounded, he has not committed a
3.-2. There must be a taking from the possession, actual or implied,
of the owner; hence if a man should find goods, and appropriate them to his
own use, he is not a thief on this account. Mart. and Yerg. 226; 14 John.
294; Breese, 227.
4.-3. There must be a taking against the will of the owner, and this
may be in some cases, where he appears to consent; for example, if a man
suspects another of an intent to steal his property, and in order to try him
leaves it in his way, and he takes it, he is guilty of larceny. The taking
must be in the county where the criminal is to be tried. 9 C. & P. 29; S. C.
38 E. C. L. R. 23; Ry. & Mod. 349. But when the taking has been in the
county or state, and the thief is caught with the stolen property in another
county than that where the theft was committed, he may be tried in the
county where arrested with the goods, as by construction of law, there is a
fresh taking in every county in which the thief carries the stolen property.
5.-4. There must be an actual carrying away, but the slightest
removal, if the goods are completely in the power of the thief, is
sufficient to snatch a diamond from a lady's ear, which is instantly dropped
among the curls of her hair, is a sufficient asportation or carrying away.
6.-5. The property taken must be personal property; a man cannot
commit larceny of real estate, or of what is so considered in law. A
familiar example will illustrate this; an apple, while hanging on the tree
where it grew, is real estate, having never been separated from the
freehold; it is not larceny, therefore, at common law, to pluck an apple
from the tree, and appropriate it to one's own use, but a mere trespass; if
that same apple, however, had been separated from the tree by the owner or
otherwise, even by accident, as if shaken by the wind, and while lying on
the ground it should be taken with a felonious intent, the taker would
commit a larceny, because then it was personal property. In some states
there are statutory provisions to punish the felonious taking of emblements
or fruits of plants, while the same are hanging by the roots, and there the
felony is complete, although the thing stolen is not, at common law,
strictly personal property. Animals ferae naturae, while in the enjoyment of
their natural liberty, are not the subjects of larceny; as, doves; 9 Pick.
15; Bee. 3 Binn. 546. See Bee; 5 N. H. Rep. 203. At common law, choses in
action are not subjects of larceny. 1 Port. 33.
7. Larceny is divided in some states, into grand and petit larceny this
depends upon the value of the property stolen. Vide 1 Hawk, 141 to 250, ch.
19; 4 Bl. Com. 229 to 250; Com. Dig. Justices, O 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; 2 East's P.
C. 524 to 791; Burn's Justice, Larceny; Williams' Justice, Felony; 3
Chitty's Cr. Law, 917 to 992; and articles Carrying Away; Invito Domino;
Robbery; Taking; Breach, 6.
, breach of trust with fraudulent intent
, grand larceny
, grand theft
, petit larceny
, petty larceny