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Massachusetts Bar Association

Larceny by Stealing

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266 §30 codifies the crime of larceny in Massachusetts. The law makes it a crime to steal (or to obtain by a false pretense, or to convert property with the intent to steal such property) someone else's property. Larceny of property with a value that exceeds $250 or larceny of a firearm is a felony in Massachusetts. It is punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Larceny of items with a value less than $250 is a misdemeanor and punishable by up to 1 year in jail. According to the law, the term "property" means money, bonds, promissory notes, chattels, stored data, animals and more. The term "steal" is defined as the wrongful taking of the personal property of another person, with the intent to deprive that person of such property permanently.

What are the Elements of Larceny in Massachusetts?

The prosecution must prove three elements beyond a reasonable doubt to convict you of larceny by stealing.

  1. That you took and carried away property;
  2. That the property was owned or possessed by someone other than you;
  3. That you intended to deprive the person of the property permanently.

Taking and carrying away property can be accomplished when you physically transfer property from another person's control to your own. This occurs even if the movement of the property is slight or if it lasts for a short time. Any separation from the victim's control, no matter how slight suffices to establish "taking and carrying away". A literal carrying away of the property is not required.

Property includes money, moveable items of personal property, things that are attached to real estate. "Property of another" means that the item was owned or possessed by someone other than the defendant. The owner of property is anyone who has actual or constructive possession of the item.

The intent to permanently deprive someone of his or her property may be proven by direct or circumstantial evidence. An intent to make restitution later is not a defense to larceny by stealing.

What Should my Lawyer do to Defend a Larceny Charge?

Larceny is one of the most common theft crimes charged in Massachusetts. Essentially, when someone is accused of stealing from another person he will likely be charged with larceny. Larceny cases are usually resolved without the need to go to trial. In Massachusetts a good criminal defense lawyer will be able to effectively resolve a larceny case through negotiations with the district attorney prosecuting the case or with the judge presiding over the case. Many times these cases are resolved so that you do not have a criminal record. Other times however going to trial might be the best option to pursue. People who complain that their property was stolen frequently have no proof that in fact the property was ever their’s. Many people try to manipulate the legal system to collect a debt or in retaliation for something that happened to them that is not criminal in nature. They initiate criminal actions as a means of extortion. We have successfully exploited these illicit motive at trial and won cases for our clients. Hiring the right criminal lawyer is the most important decision you will make. Call our office now to discuss your case.

Case Results » Larceny by Stealing
  • Charges of Larceny Over $1,200 Against Account Manager Dismissed Prior to Arraignment

    Our client managed accounts at a Boston financial institution. Security personnel at this business learned that our client uncovered what they believed to be a theft scheme involving our client. The internal investigation revealed that our client would take discarded equipment from the institution and sell it on the second market. They alleged that the scheme deprived the company of tens of thousands and that our client received a financial benefit of a similar amount from his actions. Charges of larceny over $1,200 under G.L. c. 266 section 30 issued against our client. That is a felony in Massachusetts. We successfully moved to continue the arraignment on several occasions. By doing so we were able to establish that our client did not in fact commit a crime. The prosecutor agreed to a dismissal of the charges prior to arraignment upon a reasonable amount of restitution. 

    Read More in Larceny 

  • Three Charges of Larceny Under $1,200 Against Non-Citizen Dismissed on Court Costs

    On three dates in December of 2018 loss prevention at a wholesale outlet store observed the defendant, a non-citizen, entering the store and acting in a suspicious manner. Concerned about the man's behavior the store accessed security video on the dates and observed the man's behavior in the store. They quickly saw that he had been taking men's jackets, trying them on and placing his own jacket over them. He would then go to another part of the store and place some inexpensive items in his shopping cart. He would go to the self-service checkout kiosk and pay for the smaller items and leave without paying for the jackets. The police were notified and provided with the security videotapes. They were able to identify the man and he was summonsed to court and charged with three counts of larceny under $1,200 in violation of G.L. c. 266 Section 30. Our office was able to get all charges dismissed on the day of arraignment.

    Read More in Larceny

  • Criminal Application for Larceny Over $1,200 Against College Student Dismissed After Clerk Magistrate Hearing

    The defendant lives in a suburb of Boston. She worked the cash register at a local sporting goods store. Loss prevention learned that she had been discounting items sold to her friends. They monitored her activities, all of which were captured on videotape. They observed several thefts totaling over $1,200 making the crime a felony in Massachusetts. The young woman was charged with Larceny Over G.L. c. 266 Section 30 and Conspiracy G.L. c. 274 Section 7. A clerk magistrate hearing was scheduled. Today, after the hearing Attorney Neyman convinced the clerk magistrate to dismiss all charges. The complaint did not issue.

    Read More in Theft Crimes

Client Reviews
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"In less than two months Stephen Neyman got my old conviction vacated. I now have no criminal record." Paul W. Boston, Massachusetts