Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Burglary vs. Robbery

Burglary vs. Robbery

From AP: burglary, larceny, robbery, theft Legal definitions of burglary vary, but in general a burglary involves entering a building (not necessarily by breaking in) and remaining unlawfully with the intention of committing a crime.

Larceny is the legal term for the wrongful taking of property. Its nonlegal equivalents are stealing or theft.

Robbery in the legal sense involves the use of violence or threat in committing larceny. In a wider sense it means to plunder or rifle, and may thus be used even if a person was not present: His house was robbed while he was away.

Theft describes a larceny that did not involve threat, violence or plundering.

USAGE NOTE: You rob a person, bank, house, etc., but you steal the money or the jewels.

Because there has been some confusion between a burglary and robbery (and admittedly it can be confusing, but we as journalists want to use words as correctly as possible), I offer up two stories from the Sun that helps make the distinction I hope.

Here is the burglary story. Nowhere does it call him a robber or mention robbery. It does note he may be suspected in some thefts (maybe stealing stuff out of peoples’ cars or back yards or open garages) and other burglaries. MAKES THE DISTINCTION


Man arrested in burglary where homeowner hit on head

An arrest has been made in the case of a homeowner who walked in on a burglary and got hit over the head.

Levy County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Michael David Santerfeit, 38, of Chiefland, on Friday.

He was charged with burglary, aggravated battery and grand theft for the Sept. 20 incident.

According to Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Evan Sullivan, Santerfeit broke into a home in the 9800 block of NE 65th Lane outside Bronson. Once inside, Santerfeit allegedly stole medication and other items worth more than $300.

The homeowner told deputies he got back to his home around 5 p.m. and saw that the back window had been broken. He told deputies that he walked in and was hit on the head with a crowbar before his attacker fled in a white Ford Escort. The victim was treated at the scene. He identified Santerfeit from a photo lineup and told deputies the man had done some odd jobs for him previously.

Sullivan said Santerfeit is also a suspect in several thefts and burglaries in Levy County and likely will face additional charges. Deputies are asking anyone with information on Santerfeit or who may have seen a white, four-door, Ford Escort being driven suspiciously in their neighborhood to call Investigator Mark Morgan at 486-5111. Callers can remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 877-349-8477.

And here is one in which the guys is pulling up to open garages and grabbing stuff. No break-in here. It is a robbery.


Couple thwarts robbery attempt

A 64-year-old woman and her 63-year-old husband teamed up to thwart a would-be robber at their home Sunday afternoon.

Maryjane and Michael Schaer told Gainesville Police that at about 11:40 a.m. they saw a man drive a 2008 Dodge SUV up to their open garage door in the 2000 block of NW 15th Avenue. The couple said the man began loading their power lawn tools — including a leaf blower and a generator — into the back of the SUV.

Michael said when he approached the man, the man tried to drive away.

Meanwhile, Maryjane got into the passenger seat of the SUV and turned off the ignition, reportedly telling the man not to leave. Michael told police he was at the driver’s door dialing 911 on his cell phone and trying to get the man to get out of the vehicle.

The man allegedly grabbed a knife with a locked blade from the console of the SUV and was opening the 4-inch blade when Michael began hitting him. The blows prevented the man from using the knife and he ran off.

According to an arrest report, the man was found on a creek bank a short distance from the Schaer home. The man was identified as Thomas William Sinnott, 50, of Alachua. He allegedly told police he would drive around and look for open garage doors so he could steal lawn equipment.

Sinnott was charged with robbery with a deadly weapon and burglary of an occupied dwelling for the incident at the Schear home. Police also charged him with failing to return leased property for not returning the SUV to Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

According to arrest records, Sinnott picked up the SUV from Enterprise at the Gainesville Regional Airport on Aug. 5 and renewed it for the next few weeks. Enterprise employees told police that when he quit renewing and paying for the rental, they went to his home, but neighbors told them he had moved out a week earlier. When he was arrested, Sinnott allegedly told police he had not made any payments for the leased vehicle in several weeks.