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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
  • Felony Charges of Larceny from an Elderly Person Nolle Prossed


    Our client and the "victim" (husband) were married for many years. A nasty divorce precipitated this case. According to a police report, our client stole checks from her husband and deposited them into her own bank account. The funds totaled in excess of $1,200 making the felony larceny in accordance with Massachusetts laws. She was charged with larceny from an elderly person in violation of G.L. c. 266 section 30(5). Our office was able to demonstrate that none of the money went into our client's account. We also showed that the husband had lied in the probate court and during a clerk magistrate that occurred before we were hired for the case. This information was provided to the district attorney's office. After reviewing the documents we submitted the district attorney agreed that the victim was lying. A nolle prosse was filed. All charges were dismissed. 

    Read More in Theft Crimes

  • Charges of Larceny Over $1,200 and Conspiracy Dismissed After Clerk Magistrate Hearing

    Just before Christmas the defendant and his sister stole over $4,000.00 worth of clothing from a high end boutique. They wanted to surprise their parents with expensive gifts for the holidays. Both were caught and charged with larceny over $1,200.00 G.L. c. 266 section 30 and conspiracy G.L. c. 274 section 7. The clerk magistrate hearings were conducted separately as this defendant is a minor and his sister an adult. Today, the clerk agreed not to issue the complaint. All charges will be dismissed without a complaint provided the defendant remain free from legal trouble until the end of the year. 

    Read More in Clerk Magistrate Hearings 

  • Pretrial Probation for Restaurant Manager Charged With Larceny Over $1,200 and Conspiracy

    Our client is a single mother who has worked hard to support herself and her child. Recently she was promoted to manage a restaurant that is part of a large chain. In May of this year she was caught stealing from several stores as part of an elaborate theft ring involving several other people. Security videos and still photos from store security cameras revealed the woman working in conjunction with others, stealing clothing and other merchandise on multiple occasions. The minimum theft exceeded $4,000. Our client was charged with larceny over $1,200 under G.L. c. 266 section 30 and conspiracy under G.L. c. 274 section 7. Attorney Neyman was able to convince the prosecutor that our client's involvement was minimal in comparison to the other conspirators. Moreover, our client's employment history and lack of criminal record prompted the prosecution to agree with our request for pretrial probation under G.L. c. 276 section 87. In six months all charges will be dismissed. 

    Read More in Theft Crimes

Client Reviews
"We went to trial and won. He saved me fifteen years mandatory in state prison for this case." A.C. Boston, Massachusetts
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"The best criminal defense lawyer in Massachusetts. Takes all of his client's calls at any time of the day or night. He was always there for me and my family. Steve saved my life." Jacquille D. Brockton, Massachusetts
"In less than two months Stephen Neyman got my old conviction vacated. I now have no criminal record." Paul W. Boston, Massachusetts