theft vs robberyChicago Criminal Lawyer Purav Bhatt explains the difference between theft (720 ILCS 5/16-1) and robbery (720 ILCS 5/18-1).

To many of my clients, the offenses of robbery and theft seem identical because both involve the taking of other people’s property without their permission or consent. However, they are separate and different crimes in Illinois and therefore are prosecuted differently.

The best way to understand the differences between theft and robbery is to imagine a person shopping with her purse or wallet. If someone were to take her purse or wallet without her permission, consent or knowledge, the law considers that act to be a theft. If she were to see that person attempting to take her purse and she were to resist and hold onto her purse, causing a struggle that caused the individual to take the purse from her, by law, it then becomes a robbery.


Robbery is basically the taking of another person’s property by use of force or intimidation. Unlike theft crimes, which can also be prosecuted as a misdemeanor, robbery is always charged as a felony.


A person commits theft when he knowingly:

(1) Obtains or exerts unauthorized control over property of the owner; or
(2) Obtains by deception control over property of the owner; or
(3) Obtains by threat control over property of the owner; or
(4) Obtains control over stolen property knowing the property to have been stolen or under such circumstances as would reasonably induce him to believe that the property was stolen; or
(5) Obtains or exerts control over property in the custody of any law enforcement agency which is explicitly represented to him by any law enforcement officer or any individual acting in behalf of a law enforcement agency as being stolen, and

(A) Intends to deprive the owner permanently of the use or benefit of the property; or
(B) Knowingly uses, conceals or abandons the property in such manner as to deprive the owner permanently of such use or benefit; or
(C) Uses, conceals, or abandons the property knowing such use, concealment or abandonment probably will deprive the owner permanently of such use or benefit.

If you or a loved on has been arrested for theft, robbery, retail theft, shoplifting, fraud or organized retail crime it is important to protect yourself and your future. Purav Bhatt is a Chicago Retail Theft Lawyer practicing in Cook, DuPage, Lake and Will counties. His office is located in Lincolnwood near many Chicago, Skokie and Rolling Meadowscourthouses.

Please contact Mr. Bhatt at 773-791-9682 if you would like to discuss your theft, robbery, retail theft, shoplifting, fraud or organized retail crime matter.

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