The (roughly) 13 ways that you can steal a bicycle are
- Larceny: stealing by stealth, e.g. I swipe your bicycle from your front porch
- Robbery: stealing by force, e.g. I swipe your bicycle after knocking you on the head
- False pretenses: stealing by deception, e.g. telling you that I’ll pay you for your bicycle tomorrow if you let me ride it away today, with no intention of actually paying
- Extortion: stealing by coercion, e.g. telling you that I’ll kill Fido unless you let me have your bicycle.
- Blackmail: stealing by coercion, e.g. telling you that I’ll expose the fact that you shag Fido unless you let me have your bicycle. The difference between blackmail and extortion is that the act threatened in blackmail — telling on you to the SPCA — is legal. (The blackmailing itself is not.)
- Embezzlement: stealing by breach of trust, e.g. I swipe your bicycle after you drop it off at my bike repair shop for repairs.
- Fraudulent conversion: stealing by use of dishonesty, e.g. standing on your front porch, I hail a passerby offering to sell him your bike whilst pretending it’s my bike. This how I understand this crime anyway, but who knows how it’s different from stealing by false pretenses? We’ll return to this point later.
- Cheating: stealing by “means of false weights and measures”, e.g. I buy your bike as scrape metal but use a bad scale to weigh the bike.
- Receiving stolen property: stealing by, well, receiving stolen property, e.g. I buy for cheap your stolen bike off the guy who stole it.
- Failing to return lost property: stealing by, well, not returning lost property, e.g. I find your bike after you forgot it at the beach and keep it for my own use.
- Looting: stealing in connection with an environmental emergency, e.g. I take advantage of the fact that you’re in the middle of saving your house from a hurricane to swipe your bike.
- Burglary: stealing in connection with breaking into your house, e.g. I pick the lock to your house & steal the bike you have in your living room.
- Intellectual property infringement: stealing not physical property but expressions, ideas, or methods behind the physical property, e.g. I swipe your blueprint on how to make an awesome bike.
This is according to Stuart P. Green, the author of Thirteen Ways to Steal a Bicycle: Theft in the Information Age. I’m not sure I got the list right though, leave alone the descriptions about them correct. You see, in trying to read Green’s book, I think I may bitten off more than I can chew.
After trudging through the first two chapters of the book and reading about the Moral Penal Code (MPC), the English Theft Act of 1968, the Canadian Criminal Code, and who knows what else, I’ve still only a fuzzy idea of what constitutes theft. Even worse, I feel the drudgery of these two chapters so heavily that I didn’t manage to drudge to the last chapter dealing with theft of intangibles, including the theft of intellectual property (if this is indeed theft), at all. This is the part I most looked forward to in picking up the book. And I didn’t even get there!
Curse my aversion to skipping around a book! I’ll pick up Green’s book again one of these days. I’ll just have to remember to read it from back to front!