Robbery is a form of theft where the individual committing the crime attempts to remove money or possession from an individual or entity forcibly or by threat of force. Robbery is different from the separate crime of larceny in its additional requirement of the threat of physical force upon the owner or possessor of the property.
Types of Robbery/Related Crimes
There are multiple types of robberies that any person can be convicted of in a court of law. They all share the same similarity in that a person take someone else’s possession for their own that they are not permitted to have. The type of robberies are:
- Armed robbery
- Aggravated robbery
- Bank robbery
- Highway robbery
There are different degrees of robbery and the penalty for them are different. You can be charged with first, second, or third degree robbery in the state of New York:
- First degree: A first degree robbery charge is when the victim or someone else not involved in the crime is seriously injured. First degree robbery may also take place if the perpetrator is armed with a deadly weapon and threatens to use it against the victim. This is considered a class B felony and carries a maximum sentence of twenty five years.
- Second degree: A person is guilty of second degree robbery if they commit the act with an accomplice present. Second degree robbery may also occur if the perpetrator causes injury to a person not involved in the crime or uses a gun, knife or other deadly weapon while committing the robbery. The penalty for second degree assault may include up to fifteen years of jail time.
- Third degree: Third degree robbery occurs when a criminal uses force or an offensive weapon to take someone else’s property. Third degree robbery is considered a class D felony and may result in up to seven years of jail time.
There are several types of defenses that a defendant can take against the charge of robbery such as:
- Innocence: A robbery defendant could offer evidence that they had where not in the city/county/state before the robbery took place, or that they had attended an event at the time of the robbery and could provide several witnesses to validate that fact. The defense could also challenge the prosecution’s evidence and their witnesses to prove reasonable doubt.
- Entrapment: If someone compels the defendant into committing a robbery that they would not have committed otherwise, the defendant could have an entrapment defense. Entrapment defenses are hard to prove, but if the defendant can show that the person who was robbed somehow initiated the event solely to accuse the defendant, then they could argue that the victim entrapped them into committing the crime.
- Duress: Duress is where the defendant was forced to commit the crime under threats of severe physical injury or death. This is a difficult defense to prove, since the defendant will usually have a sufficient amount of time to avoid committing the robbery.
Most robberies fall under the state statues but one special robbery is under a federal statue. The type of robbery governed by federal jurisdiction is a bank robbery. Any robbery or attempted robbery of a bank, credit union or savings and loan institution constitutes a federal crime. The federal government also has jurisdiction over robberies that affect commerce or goods being transported. The most common example of this is the hijacking of a truck full of commerce being shipped from one state to another.
The Dunbar Armored robbery is the largest cash robbery to happen in the US. It occurred in September 1997 with the help of a former employee by the name of Allen Pace. He enlisted five friends and used his knowledge of the facilities to steal over 18 million dollars from the facility. His knowledge led them to all the high denomination of bills and overpowering the security guards during the robbery. The police were immediately onto Pace but couldn’t not find any connecting evidence with him to the crime. One of the members make a crucial mistake and gave a real estate broker cash still wrapped in the original bands. The police were alerted and all the men were arrested. Allen pace was sentenced to 24 years in prison and less than half the money was recovered with about 14 million unaccounted for.