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North Carolina Theft and Larceny Laws

"Larceny" and "theft" are often used interchangeably to describe property crimes that involve the unlawful taking and carrying away of the property of another without the legal right or consent. Theft and larceny are indeed equivalent offenses, but state law dictates what term is used.

In North Carolina, these types of offenses are referred to as larceny and include a number of crimes where the perpetrator has the intent to deprive the actual owner of their property rights. Although North Carolina doesn't treat auto theft as a separate offense, the state does have laws that criminalize the larceny of specific items such as gasoline and motor vehicle parts. However, most larceny offenses are penalized under the general larceny statute.

North Carolina Larceny/Theft Laws at a Glance

The chart below provides a summary of statutes related to North Carolina's larceny laws, including links to important code sections.


  • North Carolina General Statutes 14-72(a) (Larceny of property)
  • North Carolina General Statutes 14-72.5 (Larceny of motor fuel)
  • North Carolina General Statutes 14-74 (Larceny by employees)


Larceny of property (misdemeanor):

  • If the property involved is valued at more than $1,000, then the offense is classified as a Class H felony.
  • If the property is involved is valued at less than $1,000, then the offense is classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Receiving or possessing stolen goods (when you know or should know that the goods are stolen):

  • If the property involved is valued at more than $1,000, then the offense is classified as a Class H felony.

Larceny of motor fuel:

  • This is considered a Class F felony.

Larceny by employees:

  • If the property involved is valued at $100 or more, then the offense is considered a class C felony.
  • If the property involved is valued at less than $100, then the offense is considered a Class H felony.

Regardless of the value of the property involved, the following offenses are felonies:

  • The property is taken from the person of another
  • The property is committed via burglary.
  • The property is an explosive device or firearm.
  • The property is a record in the custody of North Carolina State Archives.

Possible Defenses

  • Consent
  • You have a legal property right
  • Entrapment

Related Offenses

  • Felony larceny of motor vehicle parts: North Carolina General Statutes 14-72.8
  • Organized retail theft: North Carolina General Statutes 14-86.6

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

North Carolina Larceny Laws: Related Resources

Talk to a Defense Attorney about Your Larceny Case

If you're accused of larceny in North Carolina, then you should not be blasé about the situation. The charges could impact your future by jeopardizing your livelihood and your reputation. Take the first step in defending your rights by contacting a skilled attorney in your area who can evaluate your case.

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