Theft is the taking of possession of personal property, currency or other negotiable instruments with the intention of temporarily or permanently depriving the person with title to that property of its possession or use without legal authority or color of ownership interest. It is a crime. A similar tort is conversion, which covers a much larger range of fact situations.

Most criminal statutes set a lower limit for the value of stolen items that constitutes anindictable offence or felony. For example, in Canada, that value is $5,000 CDN. Theft of items below that threshold may be treated as a mere summary conviction offence or misdemeanour, although many statutes allow the prosecuting counsel to elect to choose to proceed by indictment instead.