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The Difference Between Theft, Robbery and Burglary

Theft, robbery, and burglary… We don’t often think it will happen to us, but when it does, it can be devastating. In situations like this, a theft attorney may be necessary to help you receive compensation based on your insurance policy, but understanding the difference between these three crimes can be important.

At Your Insurance Attorney have seen this happen before and can use our experience to help you understand what you need to know about these crimes and how a property damage lawyer can help. We are located in Coconut Grove and can assist victims throughout the Miami-Dade area.

Theft vs. Robbery vs. Burglary

While we might use these three words synonymously, there are actually differences that do matter when handling these situations legally. Let’s break down the specifics of each so you can better understand what to look for.


Theft is, by definition, taking someone else’s property without the owner’s consent with the intention to permanently deprive the owner of said possession. Specifically, theft deals with physical property, such as items or money. Trying to steal someone’s land, or child would not be classified as theft and would be treated as other crimes.

Theft non-human animals is treated as theft, however, and not kidnapping. Another important detail is that theft also involves the intention of not returning the item in question. If someone has the intention of returning the item, things may get murky depending on factors like the value of the item stolen and if the defendant can prove such intent.


Like theft, robbery also involves taking someone else’s property without their consent and with the intention not to return it. The key difference here is that robbery involves taking such goods off the victim’s person.

Pickpocketing someone’s wallet, ripping something out of their hands, or violently demanding items on the victim’s person are all forms of robbery. This also applies even if the goods in question do not belong to the victim, such as violently demanding money from a cashier at a store.


Unlike theft and robbery, burglary does not require the culprit taking anything from the victim. Instead, burglary focuses on the act of entering a building or structure to commit any kind of crime.

Burglary does not require the culprit break into a building–even opening an unlocked door or window will still count as burglary. The act of entering the space is followed by the crime itself, which can be theft/robbery or something else like assault or kidnapping.

Get Advice From A Theft Attorney

Calling the police is the first thing you should do if you’ve become a victim of theft, robbery, or burglary. Once you’re safe, the next step is to speak with a theft lawyer on legal advice about how to move forward based on your situation. Expert input is essential when it comes to best handling your situation.

Property Damage Lawyer

For victims in Coconut Grove or the Miami-Dade area, know that you are entitled to compensation based on your insurance policy. For lost or destroyed items, a theft attorney or property damage lawyer can help you recover from the loss of your possessions. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you rebound from this experience.


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