The night is young, and you and your friends decide to have some fun. Your friends’ idea of fun, however, is not yours. Instead of being a spoilsport, you go along with their plan. Luckily, no one is in the house.

Property crimes involve theft or destruction of another person’s property. Burglary and robbery fall under this heading. The two words cause confusion, and some use the terms interchangeably. However, they have significant differences.


The Illinois criminal code defines burglary as when someone enters a property without permission with the intent to commit a felony or theft. Under Article 19, the state includes other crimes such as:

  • Possession of burglary tools
  • Residential burglary
  • Criminal trespass of a residence
  • Criminal fortification of a residence
  • Home invasion

Although burglary may include theft, the person does not need to steal anything for courts to convict him or her of the crime.


The Illinois courts define robbery as when a person knowingly takes property using force or by the threat of force. Other crimes associated with robbery include:

  1. Aggravated robbery: A person who indicates verbally or with actions that he or she has a firearm or another dangerous weapon to commit robbery, or uses a controlled substance by delivery such as injection or inhalation to commit robbery.
  2. Armed robbery: A person carries a dangerous weapon or firearm or discharges a firearm in the commission of a robbery. During the robbery, the person may cause bodily harm, permanent disfigurement, permanent disability or death to another person.

Robbery’s number one distinction from burglary is the use of fear.


The penalty for burglaries begins with a Class A misdemeanor for criminal trespass and extends up to the different felony levels. However, robbery is always a felony, of which Class X is the most severe. This type of felony comes with steep fines and the possibility of 30 years imprisonment.