Theft crimes are not treated lightly in Massachusetts. From petty theft to grand theft auto to armed robbery, theft crimes carry serious consequences. Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, you could find yourself facing fines, jail time, or lifelong incarceration. The key to securing the best possible outcome in your case is to seek legal support as quickly as possible following your arrest.

Boston’s most trusted theft and property crime lawyer

The experienced legal team with Riccio Law has a proven track record of success representing individuals facing state and federal theft charges. If you live in the Greater Boston area, the Cape, or Southeastern Massachusetts, the Riccio Law team will provide you with the aggressive legal defense you deserve. Anthony Riccio and his skilled legal team specialize in the following theft crimes:

Theft vs Shoplifting

Theft is a term that encompasses a variety of other terms related to stealing property. Theft is an umbrella term that includes a wide range of unlawful activities ranging from stealing candy at a store to stealing a truck. Shoplifting, on the other hand, is a more specific term that describes the act of knowingly taking merchandise from a retailer without paying for it. Shoplifting is a common type of theft that can result in serious criminal charges, especially for repeat offenders.


Embezzlement is a unique type of theft that involves the unlawful use of property that is in the person’s possession or control. Embezzlement can unfold in many different ways. For example, a financial controller for a manufacturing company who siphons company money into a bank account he owns is embezzling money. Another example is a property manager or caretaker who takes money from their employer without the employer’s knowledge.


Massachusetts law defines burglary as “breaking and entering into a dwelling at night with the intent to commit a felony inside.” The concept of burglary has broadened over time to include places other than dwellings such as buildings, vehicles, ships, and other structures. Additionally, burglary now encompasses crimes that take place during the day and now includes breaking and entering to commit a misdemeanor.


Carjacking is the act of assaulting, confining, or instilling fear in a person in order to steal a motor vehicle from its rightful owner. It differs from grand theft auto, which occurs when a car is stolen when the owner is not present or nearby. To be found guilty of carjacking, an attorney must prove that there was an intent to steal a motor vehicle and prove that the alleged carjacker assaulted or instilled fear in the victim. It is not necessary to prove that the defendant successfully stole the vehicle.

If carjacking involves the use of a firearm, the carjacker could be found guilty of aggravated carjacking. The penalties for aggravated carjacking are significantly greater than penalties an offender may face if a firearm is not used during the crime.


Counterfeiting is the act of manufacturing fake money or goods and attempting to pass them off as authentic. Most instances of counterfeiting involve making or using fake money – especially $20, $50, and $100 bills. If you are convicted of counterfeiting, you could face fines and penalties of up to 5 years in prison.


Forgery is sometimes used interchangeably with counterfeiting. But the two terms are different. Forgery refers to the creation or use of a false document with the intention of using that document to deceive or commit fraud. Forgery occurs when an official document is changed or a false document is knowingly created. Commonly forged documents include the following:

Forgery is categorized as a felony by the federal government and penalties may include fines or up to ten years in prison. You may also be charged with forgery if you possess a device or instrument that is used to create fraudulent documents.

Identity Theft

Identity theft is the act of knowingly using another person’s identity without the consent of the owner to commit a crime. Also called identity fraud or ID theft, the term is often used to describe the unlawful taking of someone else’s name, social security number, tax identification number, or financial information for any purpose. Reporting identity theft quickly is critical. If someone is using your identity without your consent, you should visit to report the theft and start a recovery plan.

Identity thieves often obtain personal information by hacking computers, stealing purses and wallets, or stealing mail. They also may use credit card readers or send fraudulent emails in an effort to prompt unsuspecting identity theft victims to provide sensitive information. These two scams are known as skimming and phishing respectively.


Larceny is a legal term used to describe theft of property with the intent to keep it. Larceny differs from burglary or robbery because it occurs without fraud, violence, or force. A person can be convicted of larceny regardless of the value of the property.

Armed Robbery

Armed robbery occurs when a person who is armed with a dangerous weapon assaults another individual in an effort to take their money or property. An armed robbery conviction is likely if a prosecutor can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was carrying a dangerous weapon and used force or fear tactics to intentionally steal the victim’s money or possessions.

Massachusetts criminal law affords judges to impose a variety of sentences on people who are convicted of armed robbery. The exact sentence typically reflects the facts of the case, such as the type of weapon used, the use of a mask or disguise, and the offender’s prior criminal history. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the case, an offender could face life in prison.

Unarmed Robbery

Unarmed robbery involves the use of force to take money or personal property from another individual without using a dangerous weapon. An individual can be found guilty of unarmed robbery if they used force or violence to rob a person with the intent to steal. While unarmed robbery is typically viewed as a less serious crime than armed robbery, it is still considered to be a grave offense.

Unarmed robbery charges carry harsh consequences ranging from a few months in prison to life imprisonment. Sentences are particularly harsh for offenders who commit unarmed robbery of an individual over the age of 59. In Massachusetts, offenders face a minimum sentence of two years in prison if they commit unarmed robbery against someone 60 or older.


Shoplifting occurs when a person intentionally takes merchandise from a retailer without paying for it. Shoplifting is also an umbrella term that encompasses other retail theft activities such as tag altering, label-switching, and any other actions that involve an attempt to obtain merchandise for an amount that is lower than retail or market value.

If you are arrested for theft, the single best step you can take is to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. We invite you to contact us today to discover why residents across Massachusetts turn to Anthony Riccio to handle their case. We look forward to serving as your trusted legal representative.