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CHAPTER 10

Theft

OVERVIEW

Some people always want what the other person has. And they'll do anything to get it: take it, trick the owner into giving it up, hide it, perhaps even destroy the property if they can't have it.

These unhappy facts of life have given rise to one of the most arcane areas of criminal law: property offenses. The doctrines of the various crimes that constitute property offenses---larceny, embezzlement, taking under false pretenses, extortion, and others---are laced with rules and a host of exceptions to the rules. Courts have created fictional devices to reach the “right results” when the rules would not allow such a result. The doctrines also reflect tension between courts and legislatures about the reach of the criminal law and the impact of the death penalty.

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