Houses Cannot Be Robbed, and Gitarzan

Houses cannot be robbed

Okay, I saw it again last night. An author, obviously in a confused state of mind, wrote a scene where the victim’s home was robbed. No. NO. A thousand times NO!

Robbery and burglary are not the same. The two have entirely different meanings. The two crimes are totally different. Again, they are not the same. Not even close. Not. The. Same.

I’ll explain again, so please, my dear friends, take notes. Write this down somewhere. Make a mental note. Use a pocket knife to scratch the words deep into your dining room table top. Paint it on your walls. Erect a sign in your yard. Do whatever it takes to help you remember this…

Robbery occurs when a crook uses physical force, threat, or intimidation to steal someone’s property from them. If the robber uses a weapon the crime then becomes an armed robbery, or aggravated robbery, depending on local law. There is always a victim present during a robbery.

For example, you are walking down the street whistling a romantic Metallica tune, when a tall, dark, and severely ugly guy approaches, brandishing a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. He demands your money. That’s robbery. The bad guy forced you to hand over your hard-earned cash. You were scared and intimidated. You were one-on-one with the robber. Face to face. You saw him and he saw you. You were fairly certain that he would do something bad to you if you didn’t hand over your wallet. This was a stick up. A holdup. THIS WAS A ROBBERY, AND THE GUY WHO TOOK YOUR CASH WAS A ROBBER.

Burglary is an unlawful entry into any building with the intent to commit a crime. Normally, there is no one inside the building when a burglary occurs. No physical breaking and entering is required to commit a burglary. A simple trespass through an open door or window, and the theft of an item or items, is all that’s necessary to meet the requirements of burglary.

For example, you are out for the night and someone breaks into your home and steals your television. That’s a burglary. Even if you are at home asleep in your bed when the same crime occurs, it’s a burglary because you weren’t actually threatened by anyone. Also, the bad guy didn’t take the item directly from you. There was no face time with the TV thief. He slipped in, grabbed the flat screen, and then slipped away into the night. This guy is a burglar. He did not use threats or intimidation. You weren’t scared of him because you didn’t know he was there.

Another example. You park your car in the lot at the local PigOut Grocery And Underwear Emporium. You lock your car doors and go inside to pick up a jumbo jar of pickled pigs feet, a bag of barbecue flavored Funyons, and a pair of those Horton Hears A Who BVD’s you’ve been saving for. When you return to your car you see this…

Your car was NOT robbed. It was a burglar who broke in and stole your entire Weird Al and Ray Stevens CD collection, and the brand new Elvis on black velvet portrait you’d bought to hang over the greasy stain on the wall above the hide-a-bed in your mom’s basement.

So, have you got it now?

Just in case, one last review.

Houses, stores, cars, trailers, RV’s, boats, scooters, bobsleds, tricycles, skateboards, and other inanimate objects CANNOT be robbed. People are robbed. Robbers steal directly from people.

Houses are burglarized. Burglars break in or sneak in, and steal.

Besides, how silly would it be for a robber to point his gun at your house or car and say, “Stick ’em up!”

Now, until your CD’s are returned…