PART E - CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY
A. Larceny (Article 121(1), UCMJ). The elements of larceny are:
1. That the accused wrongfully took, obtained, or withheld certain property from the
possession of the owner or of any other person;
2. That the property belonged to a certain person;
3. That the property was of a certain value, or of some value; and
4. That the taking, obtaining, or withholding by the accused was done with the intent to
permanently deprive or defraud another person of the use and benefit of the property or to permanently
appropriate the property for the use of the accused or for any person other than the owner.
If the property is alleged to be military property, there is a fifth element, requiring the
government to also prove that the property was military property. This fifth element, if proven, is an
element in aggravation which will increase the maximum punishment for the offense.
In order for there to be a larceny, there must be a taking, obtaining, or withholding of the
property by the thief. In order for there to be a wrongful taking, the accused must exercise some sort of
dominion (ownership) or control over the item and there must be some sort of "carrying away" of the
property. There would be no taking if the property in question was connected to a building by a chain,
and the property had not been disconnected from the building.
QUESTION: DOES THE ACCUSED HAVE TO LEAVE THE OWNER'S PREMISES BEFORE A
"TAKING" HAS OCCURRED?
ANSWER: NO. AN INDIVIDUAL DOES NOT HAVE TO LEAVE THE PREMISES WITH THE
VICTIM'S PROPERTY IN ORDER FOR A TAKING TO OCCUR. AS A GENERAL RULE, ANY
MOVEMENT OF PROPERTY OR ANY EXERCISE OF DOMINION OVER IT WILL BE A
SUFFICIENT TAKING AS LONG AS IT WAS DONE WITH THE NECESSARY INTENT TO
PERMANENTLY DEPRIVE. PART IV, MCM 1984, PARA 46(c) (1) (b). THEREFORE, IF A
SOLDIER PERFORMING DUTY AT A CENTRAL ISSUE FACILITY INTENDS TO STEAL FIELD
JACKETS AND IN FURTHERANCE OF HIS PLAN HIDES THE FIELD JACKETS IN THE
BOTTOM OF LAUNDRY BAGS, COVERS THEM WITH FIELD JACKET LINERS SO THAT IT
WOULD APPEAR THAT THE BAGS WERE BOUND FOR THE LAUNDRY, AND WHEELS THE
CART TO ANOTHER AREA OF THE FACILITY, THE MOVEMENT OF THE JACKETS WITHIN
THE FACILITY CONSTITUTES A SUFFICIENT TAKING TO CONSTITUTE LARCENY.
UNITED STATES V. HENDERSON, 9 MJ 845 (ACMR 1980). UNITED STATES V. SNEED, 38
CMR 249 (CMA 1968).
It is important to emphasize the fact that under Article 121, UCMJ, a larceny can occur when
something of value is taken from the possession of the owner or any other person. The victim of a
larceny can be anyone who had a greater legal right to possession of the property than the accused.
Under the UCMJ, a person can be found guilty of larceny if he wrongfully takes an item which has
already been stolen once by another thief. Part IV, MCM 1984, para