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Massachusetts Theft Laws

The crime of theft involves taking someone else's property without their permission and with the intention to permanently deprive them of that property. Each state has its own definition for theft, which can also be called larceny in some states, including Massachusetts. States usually have separate laws to address specific types of theft, such as shoplifting and robbery. Massachusetts also has a variety of very specific theft-related offenses, such as larceny of bicycles and also stealing in a building, ship or railroad car.

Massachusetts Theft Laws: The Basics

While reading the actual law is an important step to legal research, it can be a tedious task as many statutes are written in legal jargon that can take time to decipher. To speed up the process of understanding a statute, it can be helpful to also read a summary of the law without the "legalese." Below you'll find an overview of theft laws in Massachusetts as well as links to relevant statutes.


Massachusetts General Laws, Part IV, Title I, Chapter 266, Section 30 (Larceny: General Provisions and Penalties)

What's Prohibited?

It's prohibited for a person to (1) steal, (2) with intent to defraud obtain by false pretense, or (3) with intent to steal or embezzle convert the property of another.


Larceny is generally punishable as follows:

  • If the stolen property is a firearm, trade secret, or worth over $250, up to five years in prison, or up to two years in jail and a fine of up to $25,000.
  • If the stolen property is $250 or less, up to one year in jail or a fine of up to $300.

However, if the victim is 65 or older or a person with a disability, larceny is punishable as follows:

  • If the stolen property is worth over $250, up to ten years in state prison or up to two and a half years in a house of correction, and/or a fine of up to $50,000.
  • If the stolen property is worth $250 or less, up to two and a half years in a house of correction and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
Related Statute(s)

Note: Massachusetts has a number of statutes that apply to theft. For your convenience, a sample of some of the statutes related to theft are listed below.

Massachusetts General Laws, Part IV, Title I, Chapter 266:

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Massachusetts Theft Laws: Related Resources

For additional information and resources related to this topic, please click on the links listed below.

Facing Theft Charges in Massachusetts? Get Legal Help

As you can see, there are several statutes in Massachusetts that relate to theft and larceny, and the possible penalties are heavily dependent on which one is charged. The best way to defend against any charges and to figure out what punishment you may be facing if convicted is to speak with an expert. So, if you're facing charges for violating Massachusetts theft laws, it's a good idea to contact a skilled criminal defense attorney who can help craft your defense and represent you in court or during plea negotiations, if necessary.

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