Screens and Scales - Episode 2: “There’s nothing here…it’s just a suit.”
Ant-Man was AMAZING! (I promise...no spoilers!) One of my favorite scenes (which was used frequently in commercials) was the “break-in” scene. Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) breaks into Hank Pym’s (Michael Douglas) home to steal the Ant-Man suit. So, hypothetically, if Scott Lang had been caught after he stole the suit...what crimes would he be charged with?
“Larceny,” the wrongful taking of someone else’s property with the intent of permanently depriving the owner of it, would be one of the charges as Scott stole Hank’s suit. “Theft” is the general Model Penal Code crime that combines various common law crimes (including larceny) into one. The definition of theft is the intent of depriving another person of the property that they have taken. So, depending on the laws the state has enacted, Scott would be charged with either larceny or theft.
Next, the modern definition of “burglary” is knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully in a building with the intent to commit a crime therein. Since Scott entered Hank’s home with the intent of committing a larceny, it is very likely he would be charged with this crime as well. A few states use the old common law definition of burglary, which is the breaking and entering of someone else's dwelling at night with the intent to commit a felony therein. Given this more detailed definition, it would depend on whether the state classified the larceny/theft as a felony or misdemeanor crime. Most states have switched to the modern definition, so we can assume that Scott would be charged with burglary.
Lastly, “robbery” is the taking of property from either the victim’s person or immediate presence through the use of force or the threatened use of force. A key element is that the item must be taken from the person directly or in his/her presence. In our scenario, Scott breaks into Hank’s home with no one around, so he would not be charged with this crime.
Breaking into someone’s home to steal from that person can result in a multitude of charges against the thief. In Scott Lang’s instance, he would be charged with and most likely convicted of both larceny/theft and burglary.
*If you have questions about the above as it pertains to your specific circumstances, you should contact an experienced attorney to discuss your case.
Jessica Reynolds is an Instructor for Ridley-Lowell’s Legal Assisting program. Courses she teaches include litigation, criminal law & procedure, legal research and communication, and family law planning and probate. Her legal career spans more than 12 years in real estate, mortgages, divorce & family law, corporate compliance, case law research, and civil procedures. For more information contact email@example.com