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Everyone's situation is unique, and the article below should be used for INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. The article SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON as legal advice, nor is it intended to create a solicitor-client relationship. If you are charged with an offence, please retain and instruct counsel immediately. I do not guarantee the accuracy of any articles on this website and reserve the right to change its contents without notice. For more information please refer to the website's usage policy.

There are two flavours of theft: under and over $5000. This refers to the value of the object(s) that were stolen and changes the punishments that are available if you are found guilty.

If you are found guilt of theft under $5000, then you can be sentenced to a period of imprisonment under 2 years. If the objects exceed $5000 in value, then the potential sentence can be up to 10 years.  

According to section 322 of the Criminal Code, you are guilty of theft where:

(1)  Every one commits theft who fraudulently and without colour of right takes ... anything, whether animate or inanimate, with intent,
(a)  to deprive, temporarily or absolutely, the owner of it ...
(2)  A person commits theft when, with intent to steal anything, he moves it or causes it to move or to be moved, or begins to cause it to become movable.

Hence, theft is made out as soon as the object that is intended to be stolen moves. The object does not need to change possession, only movement is required. 

Theft becomes a robbery charge when the theft was accompanied with violence or threats of violence. Note that there is a temporal component to the violence, as the violence must have taken place with the underlying theft, shortly before or shortly after. If the violence takes place some significant time  after the theft has been completed, then it does not elevate the theft to robbery (of course, this new act of violence WILL constitute assault).

The time delay between the taking of the object and the act of violence is a matter of fact for the judge or jury to decide. Only where the violence and the theft is one 'continuous transaction' is robbery made out.  

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