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Criminal Jury Instructions

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9.1-1  Larceny -- 53a-119 and 53a-122 through 53a-125b

Revised to April 23, 2010

Note:  This instruction is for simple larceny, as defined in 53a-119.  Other means of committing larceny are defined in 53a-119 (1) through (18).  See subsequent instructions in this section for the specific type of larceny charged.

The degree of the larceny is determined by the value of the property stolen.  See 53a-122 (first degree); 53a-123 (second degree); 53a-124 (third degree); 53a-125 (fourth degree); 53a-125a (fifth degree); 53a-125b (sixth degree). The dollar amounts for the degrees of larceny were increased as of October 1, 2009.  See the table in Introduction to Larceny for the values in effect prior to that date.

The defendant is charged [in count __] with larceny in the (first / second / third / fourth / fifth / sixth) degree.  The statute defining this offense reads in pertinent part as follows: 

a person commits larceny when, with intent to <insert as appropriate:>

  • deprive another of property,

  • appropriate property to (himself /herself) or a third person,

(he/she) wrongfully (takes / obtains / withholds) such property from an owner.  

Larceny simply means theft or stealing.  In this case, the property allegedly stolen is <identify property>.

For you to find the defendant guilty of this charge, the state must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

Element 1 - Theft of property
The first element is that the defendant wrongfully (took / obtained / withheld) property from the owner.  "Wrongfully" means that the defendant had no legal justification or excuse for (taking / obtaining / withholding) the property.  <Insert appropriate definitions:>

  • Taking" means seizing an article from the possession or control of the person entitled to it whether by force or some other unlawful means.1 

  • "Obtaining" includes, but is not limited to, bringing about the transfer or purported transfer of property or of a legal interest in the property from the owner to the defendant or to a third person.

  • "Withholding" means wrongfully keeping property from its owner.

  • "Property" includes any (money / personal property / real property / thing in action / evidence of debt or contract / article of value of any kind).  [Commodities of a public utility, such as gas, electricity, steam and water also constitute property.]

  • "Service" includes (labor / professional service / public utility and transportation service / the supplying of hotel accommodations / restaurant services / entertainment / the supplying of equipment for use).

"Owner" means not only the true or lawful owner, but any person who has a superior right to that of the defendant.  <Insert as appropriate:>

  • This would include persons who have possession or custody of property with the permission or authority of the true owner, such as repair persons and employees.

  • It would include someone who has wrongful possession of property, from whom that property is later stolen.  In other words, a person can be guilty of larceny even when (he/she) has stolen from a thief.2

  • A joint owner or a common owner of property would not be guilty of larceny of that property if (he/she) took it from the other owner.3

  • A creditor who has a security interest in the property, even with legal title, cannot take the property from the lawful possession of another unless (he/she) has a specific agreement to that effect.  A creditor who wrongfully takes such property may be found guilty of larceny if the other elements of larceny are proved.4

Element 2 - Larcenous Intent
The second element is that at the time the defendant (took / obtained / withheld) the property, (he/she) intended to <insert as appropriate:>5

  • permanently deprive the owner of (his/her) property.  To intend to "deprive" another of property means to intend to withhold or keep or cause it to be withheld from another permanently, or for so long a period or under such circumstances that the major portion of its value is lost to that person.  In other words, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant took the property for the purpose of keeping or using it permanently or virtually permanently, or of disposing of the property in such a way that there was a permanent or virtually permanent loss of the property to the owner.

  • permanently appropriate the property to (himself / herself) or to a third person.  To intend to "appropriate" property of another to oneself or a third person means to intend either to exercise control over the property, or to aid a third person to exercise control over it, permanently, or for so long a period or under such circumstances as to acquire the major portion of its economic value or benefit, or to dispose of the property for the benefit of oneself or a third person.

A person acts "intentionally" with respect to a result when (his/her) conscious objective is to cause such result.  <See Intent: Specific, Instruction 2.3-1.>

Element 3 - Value of property or services6
The third element is that the property had a value that <insert as appropriate:>

First degree:  exceeded $20,000.
Second degree:  exceeded $10,000.
Third degree:  exceeded $2,000.
Fourth degree:  exceeded $1,000.
Fifth degree:  exceeded $500.
Sixth degree:  did not exceed $500.

[<If there are multiple items and their values can be aggregated:>  In making this determination, you may add or aggregate the value of the property involved.  You can only aggregate amounts if the thefts were committed pursuant to one scheme or course of conduct, whether from the same or several persons.] 

"Value" means the market value of the property or service at the time and place of the crime.  "Market value" means the price that would, in all probability, result from fair negotiations between willing buyers and sellers at the time and place of the crime.  In this case, evidence has been presented that the items claimed to have been stolen have a retail price of $<insert value>.  

You are not to consider the value of the property to the owner. You are not to consider that the defendant did not realize the value of what was stolen or that (he/she) intended to steal something of lesser value.  If you can determine the price the property sold for at the time of the crime, then that is the controlling value.  If the market value cannot be determined, then you should consider the replacement cost of the property within a reasonable time after the crime.

[<If the property includes written instruments:>  When evaluating written instruments, whether or not they have been issued or delivered, use the value printed on the instruments when such is obvious, as on some public and corporate bonds and securities.  For written instruments that are evidence of a debt owed, such as checks, drafts or promissory notes, you should use the amount due or collectable.  This amount is ordinarily the face amount of the debt less any part that has been paid.  To evaluate a written instrument that creates or releases or discharges or otherwise affects any valuable right or privilege or obligation, you must determine the greatest amount of economic loss that the owner of the written instrument might reasonably suffer by the loss of that instrument.]

When you cannot determine that the state has proved the value of the property beyond a reasonable doubt, you must set the value at less than fifty dollars.


In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant 1) wrongfully (took / obtained / withheld) property from the owner, 2) (he/she) did so with the intent to (permanently deprive the owner of (his/her) property / permanently appropriate the property to (himself / herself) or a third person), and 3) the property had a value of <insert value according to degree charged>.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of larceny in the (first / second / third / fourth / fifth / sixth) degree, then you shall find the defendant guilty.  On the other hand, if you unanimously find that the state has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt any of the elements, you shall then find the defendant not guilty.

1 "Taking" is not defined in the Penal Code.  The ordinary usage of "criminal taking" is "the act of seizing an article, with or without removing it, but with an implicit transfer of possession or control."  State v. Toro, 62 Conn. App. 635, 642, cert. denied, 256 Conn. 923 (2001).

2 See General Statutes 53a-118 (b).

3 See General Statutes 53a-118 (c).

4 See General Statutes 53a-118 (d).

5 The court should only instruct on the part of the statute charged, to deprive or to appropriate, and should define those terms as they are defined in the statute.  State v. Spillane, 54 Conn. App. 201, 210-20 (1999), aff'd on other grounds, 257 Conn. 750 (2001).

6 See General Statutes 53a-121.


"Larceny involves both taking and retaining.  The criminal intent involved in larceny relates to both aspects.  The taking must be wrongful, that is, without color of right or excuse for the act . . . and without the knowing consent of the owner . . .  The requisite intent for retention is permanency."  (Citations omitted.)  State v. Kurvin, 186 Conn. 555, 568 (1982); see also State v. Calonico, 256 Conn. 135, 160-63 (2001) (defendant's actions in gaining control over the victim's assets demonstrated the intent to permanently retain them).  To prove the element of intent within the context of larceny, the state must show that the defendant intended to deprive another person of property permanently.  State v. Harrison, 178 Conn. 689, 694 (1979); State v. Pompei, 52 Conn. App. 303, 309 (1999) (reversed for not instructing that the intent was to deprive owner of property permanently).

"A bailor who takes his own property from the lawful possession of a bailee can be convicted of larceny for depriving the bailee of the value of his services, as secured by a bailee's lien on the property."  State v. Marsala, 59 Conn. App. 135, 139, cert. denied, 254 Conn. 948 (2000).


If there are multiple thefts, the value of all of the property may be aggregated if the jury finds that all of the property was acquired pursuant to a single scheme or course of conduct.  State v. Desimone, 241 Conn. 439 (1997) (reversing trial court for not charging the jury that it had to first find that the stolen property was acquired pursuant to one scheme or course of conduct before it could aggregate the values).  See also State v. Browne, 84 Conn. App. 351, 389-94, cert. denied, 271 Conn. 931 (2004) (such an instruction is not necessary when defendant is charged with a single act of theft).

On market value, see State v. Nunes, 58 Conn. App. 296, 302-304, cert. denied, 254 Conn. 944 (2000).

Aggregation in 53a-121 applies equally to attempted thefts as it does to completed thefts.  State v. Brown, 235 Conn. 502, 514-18 (1995).


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