Tuesday, October 29, 2013

WHAT'S THE DIFF?: Pizza Shop Was Burglarized, Not Robbed

We're sticklers.

It was hard to miss yesterday's flood of media reporting on the break-in at Boystown's Pie Hole Pizza Joint on Saturday morning. (Hey, didn't some blog have that story two days earlier?)

One thing we heard and read in many of the reports is like fingernails on a blackboard to us.

Several news outlets referred to the break-in as a "robbery."

It was not a robbery. It was a burglary. More precisely, it was an attempted burglary because the perpetrator failed to take anything.

There's a big difference between burglary and robbery and it's important to understand that difference. We pound the table about our neighborhood's record-setting robbery rate. Once in a while a comment will pop up here or elsewhere that these are "just" robberies.

Clearly, those are people who don't understand what robbery is.

Robberies are violent crimes. On the list of violent crimes, robbery is the third most-serious offense, behind murder and rape. These are robberies. These are burglaries.

The key element of a robbery is that the crime involves using force or threatening to use force to take something from another. Robberies are person-to-person confrontations. In our neighborhood, robberies are often several persons-to-person confrontations.

Breaking into or entering an area without authorization in order to steal something is burglary.

Taking something without using force or burglarizing is theft.

Stealing a bike off of the street is theft.

Breaking into someone's garage and stealing their bike is burglary.

Pulling out a knife and taking a guy's bike away from him is robbery.


  1. Thank you!! That has ALWAYS bugged the shit outta me when the media says it was a "robbery" also!

  2. For what it's worth, the crime here was a completed burglary, not an attempt. The criminal need not actually steal anything or achieve any of his nefarious objectives in order to commit a burglary, so long as he intended to do so when he broke in. It's the entering with the intent to commit a felony or a theft therein that defines burglary.

    1. Right you are, GavinJD.

      Police will sub-classify it as an attempt-forcible entry, but the crime committed was indeed burglary.

      Thanks for taking the time to post.

  3. Good to know the difference!!!

  4. CWB, I noticed in your original report that you referred to the offenders as would-be thieves instead of burglars. Wasn't that incorrect? I like learning about these distinctions and being precise, so I appreciate this post.

    1. Thank you, Anonymous. We're big fans of precision, too. In this case, the person who entered the building succeeded in burglarizing and failed in stealing.

  5. Excellent. This is the best crime blotter blog going.

    1. Thank you, Anonymous. As soon as the city gets the neighborhood's street crime problem under control, we can go back to our nonblogging lifestyle.