Many offenses exist in Tennessee that involve the taking of a person’s property. Theft is an all-encompassing term that involves many types of stealing.
Theft is the taking of, or exercising control over, another person’s property without that person’s consent for the purpose of depriving the owner of the property. Theft does not involve the use of force or the threat of force. In Tennessee, thefts are classified as misdemeanors or felonies in terms of the amount stolen. For example, a theft valued at $500 or less is a classified as a Class A misdemeanor, and a theft valued at $60,000 or more is classified as a Class B felony.
Embezzlement is a type of theft. Embezzlement is an act of deceitful conversion of property by a person who has been entrusted with the care of that property. Therefore, for embezzlement to occur, there must be an actual conversion of property and the original taking must not be trespassory. For example, Mary is a bookkeeper at a local automobile dealer. She has been entrusted with access to the bank accounts and financial ledgers of the dealership for the purpose of managing the dealership’s money. She logs into the dealership’s bank account and transfers money to her own personal account. Mary has committed embezzlement.
Larceny is a type of theft. Larceny consists of four elements — it is the trespassory taking and carrying away of the personal property of another with the intent to steal. For example, John slips a package of steaks under his coat while shopping at the local grocery store and walks out of the store without paying for them. John has committed larceny.
Grand larceny is larceny of a more significant amount of property. Tennessee law defines grand larceny as an amount valued at $200 or more. For example, while shopping at an electronics store, Julie slips a smart phone under the waistband of her pants. Julie has committed grand larceny.
In Tennessee, “theft” encompasses a wide variety of wrongful actions, and it’s important to know your rights if you are charged with theft in Tennessee.