If I break into someone's house to steal their drugs is it burglary? Or is it ok? Or would it depend on the judge?

  • 3
    Asking whether theft is against the law?
    – user4657
    Mar 3, 2020 at 3:46
  • 6
    Breaking and entering, and burglary, are still crimes regardless of what the target of the theft is in either case.
    – user28517
    Mar 3, 2020 at 3:47
  • 2
    @Nij It is a common trope in media for characters to rationalize thefts etc. based on the victim's crimes negating it. Dismissing concerns about a theft with "dude, he stole this from someone else", even possibly stolen from the speaker or someone close to the speaker, is very common. This helps leads to a certain popular confusion on whether or not these things are legally valid or not, as they are almost never challenged on the issue, especially not by a legal authority. And I've seen episodes of Judge Judy etc. where the "clean hands doctrine" is invoked, which can sow confusion. Mar 4, 2020 at 0:05
  • 2
    It's not theft to reclaim your own property, so that's a completely irrelevant point.
    – user4657
    Mar 4, 2020 at 0:55

2 Answers 2


It is illegal to break into the house even if you don't steal anything. It is illegal to steal the drugs even though the owner of the drugs possessed them unlawfully. So that's at least two crimes. On top of that, the thief will be committing the crime of illegal possession of a controlled substance after the theft.


There was a recent case reported in the U.K. where someone went to the police and complained a robber had taken his drugs. The robber was arrested. The complainant was arrested as well. One for robbery and possession of drugs, the other just for possession.

There will be cases where the police has problems finding evidence because the victim will not want to give evidence.

(A similar case: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/20/drug-dealer-arrested-calling-police-report-stolen-cocaine/ )

  • 8
    You could improve this answer by finding the actual case file online or at least a news report about the case.
    – Philipp
    Mar 3, 2020 at 12:22

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