petty theft


: the crime of stealing something that does not have a high value

Examples of petty theft in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The 39-year-old Bay Point man was arrested Dec. 16 on suspicion of petty theft, and later released with no charges filed, court records show. Nate Gartrell, The Mercury News, 5 Jan. 2024 Even for more serious crimes — petty theft, for example — the criminal justice system stumbles over the false binary of felony and lifelong consequences, or unenforceability. Los Angeles Times Editorial Board, Orlando Sentinel, 9 Jan. 2024 Changes to state criminal law have largely eliminated prosecution for committing petty theft and abusing drugs, leaving little deterrent to stop this dangerous cycle. Phillip Molnar, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Oct. 2023 California’s Proposition 47 passed by voters in 2014, for instance, downgraded most small thefts to misdemeanors and raised the threshold for petty theft from $500 to $950. Bailey Schulz, USA TODAY, 3 Aug. 2023 The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office announced Wednesday that Adrian Muñoz, 34, has been charged with one felony count of grand theft and one misdemeanor count of petty theft. Rebecca Ellis, Los Angeles Times, 9 Nov. 2023 Prop 47, passed by CA voters in 2014, made some non-violent property crimes (including commercial burglary, petty theft, and grand theft) a misdemeanor instead of a felony. Phillip Molnar, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Oct. 2023 An increase in petty theft weighed on retail store gross profit margins. Joseph Walker, WSJ, 12 Oct. 2023 At the time of his death on Nov. 19, 1895, Murphy was an alcoholic who purportedly died from kidney failure at Berks County Prison on petty theft charges. Christine Rousselle, Fox News, 7 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'petty theft.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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Cite this Entry

“Petty theft.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Legal Definition

petty theft

see theft

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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