Difference Between ''Larceny by Trick'' and ''Theft by False Pretenses''
"In California, the ancient common law distinctions between the theories of larceny by trick and theft by false pretenses no longer exist by statute; under section 484, there is simply one consolidated crime of theft, which the jury may find upon either theory, if there is an 'unlawful taking' ( 952).
As stated by our Supreme Court in People v. Ashley (1954) 42 Cal. 2d 246, 258, 267 P.2d 271, 'The purpose of the consolidation was to remove the technicalities that existed in the pleading and proof of these crimes at common law. . . . Juries need no longer be concerned with the technical differences between the several types of theft, and can return a general verdict of guilty if they find that an "unlawful taking" has been proved.'
We note that another recent larceny case . . . supports our analysis: 'In the instant action it was irrelevant whether defendant obtained the dress by trick or intimidation of the store employees. the end result was that he left the store with property he had not paid for.'" ( People v. Counts (1995) 31 Cal. App. 4th 785, 793.)