The main difference between amateur and professional thieves is whether or not the person makes a living from thievery. I imagine this question is related to individual thieves as opposed to the much more impactful corporate or government thieves who are often protected under the law. It is important to...
The main difference between amateur and professional thieves is whether or not the person makes a living from thievery. I imagine this question is related to individual thieves as opposed to the much more impactful corporate or government thieves who are often protected under the law. It is important to make this distinction of outlawed versus legalized/accepted thievery because there are many professions that rely on stealing that are, in fact, legalized and accepted by society. Example of such are the profession of policing in which police legally and forcefully steal people from their homes and loved ones, or the profession of resource extractors, such as giant rubber corporations, who steal land from indigenous people and force them to extract rubber from the lands they once called home.
Amateur thieves can be classified as folks who may consistently or inconsistently steal from businesses or private residences, and they tend to steal for themselves or for others, but not as a means of income. For example, an impoverished single mother may consistently steal food for herself and her child(ren), to supplement the amount of food she is able to buy on her limited income, but she would not be considered a professional thief. Amateur does not necessarily imply unskilled or incapable. She may be very skilled in taking the food she needs, but because she does not steal as a profession, she would still be considered an amateur.
Professional thieves make a living from thieving. For example, someone who has been kidnapped by the police and been stamped with a felony for using drugs to cope with an oppressive and harsh world, may use professional thieving as a means of income upon release from prison since bosses tend to not hire people with felony records. This person may steal large amounts of low value items from multimillion dollar companies and sell them at flea markets (such as hundreds of packs of razors from supermarkets). Or, a person may make a living by stealing small amounts of higher value items and selling them through underground networks. For example, a professional thief in this trade may steal smaller amounts of high value jewelry from businesses or wealthy private residences and then sell them via underground networks.