Robbery refers to theft accomplished by force or a threat of force. It is like a combination between assault and theft, which requires the elements of both crimes.
Robbery involves taking personal property or money from the victim by the presence of another. The robber uses force or the threat of force to achieve the theft. The intent element of the crime occurs with the use of actual or constructive use of force to accomplish the theft and does not require deliberation or premeditation. In addition, a robbery can occur without the robber expressly demanding the property.
Robbery involves more than theft; it requires the robber to take the property from the victim’s possession. Property is considered to be in the victim’s possession if it is on the victim’s person, in the victim’s clothing, or attached to the victim’s body in some way. However, robbery can also include items that are within the victim’s control at the time of the robbery. At one point in time, this was construed as the item being within arm’s reach or sight of the victim. If threatening the victim permits the robber to obtain the item, it can still be considered a robbery even if the item is not under the direct control of the victim at the time that it is taken. However, the victim must be exercising sufficient control over the property that the victim could have prevented the taking if the robber had not used force or the threat of force. Furthermore, taking the property from the victim’s possession does not require that the robber take the property away from the location of the robbery, simply that the robber exercise control over the property.
Unlike other theft-related charges, the value of the property taken is not critical to a charge of robbery. Because the real threat of the crime is based on the threat to the personal safety of the victim, even robberies of negligible amounts of personal property or money can support robbery charges.