The restriction of the scope of larceny to personal property may have practical consequences. For example, a person may “steal” a central air conditioning unit by cutting the connections to the house, removing the unit from its concrete pad and hauling the disconnected unit away in a truck. In most jurisdictions, a central air conditioning unit changes from personal property to real property (a fixture) once it is attached to a building. Modernly, severance of a fixture from the realty would convert the fixture from real property back to personal property. However, the common law stated that if the severance and carrying away of a fixture were one continuous act, no larceny would occur.
The defendant’s actions in this example would thus merely constitute damage to real property, and would further not result in possession of stolen property since no larceny had taken place.
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