What is the difference between Robbery and Burglary in Pennsylvania?

Filed under: Criminal Law by Steven F. Fairlie @ September 29, 2016

Robbery requires use of force against the person
Robbery and Burglary are both serious felonies under Pennsylvania law, but the average person seems to have no idea what the difference between them is. For example, this article references “distraction robberies” when that is really an oxymoron: Police Warn of Distraction Robberies in Montgomery County. Robbery requires that force be used against someone in the course of committing a theft, while Burglary requires that the person enter or remain in a building with the intent to commit a crime therein. Thus, you can’t “rob” someone who is distracted and unaware of the robbery, assuming that no force was used to distract the person. Yet we see headlines every day discussing “robberies” or someone getting “robbed” when the applicable crime is really burglary. Like anything else in the law, these statutes are long and complex, so if any of this is important to you be sure to read the statutes in their entirety.

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