According to The General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, larceny involves stealing or using other means to take possession of another person’s property without authorization. The law states that property includes physical possessions, money, accounting documents, bonds, banknotes, trade secrets, animals, and many other items.
When larceny involves amounts greater than $250, law enforcement can arrest the accused without the need for a warrant, provided probable cause is a factor. Probable cause means the officer has reason to believe the crime has taken place.
What penalties accompany the crime of larceny?
Punishments for larceny differ depending on the nature of the crime:
Property valued under $1,200
People convicted of larceny in amounts under $1,200 can receive up to one year in jail, but jail terms cannot exceed that timeframe. A person convicted of larceny can also receive a fine of no more than $1,500 in this case.
Firearms and property valued over $1,200
Punishment for theft of firearms is harsh when compared to other types of personal belongings. If convicted of stealing a firearm, a person can receive a prison term not exceeding five years. A person can also receive a fine of not more than $25,000 and a jail term under two years instead. These punishments also apply to theft involving amounts of $1,200 or greater.
Like firearm theft and theft in amounts above $1,200, theft of several types of trade secrets is punishable by up to five years in prison, or by two years in prison and a fine not exceeding $25,000. Trade secrets are any data pertaining to designs, information, specifications, formulas, processes, procedures, or inventions.
In some cases, the person convicted must pay back restitution to the victim of the crime. This is often the case when the victim is 60 years or age or older, or has a disability.