Washington state law RCW 9A.56.190 defines robbery as:

A person commits robbery when he or she unlawfully takes personal property from the person of another or in his or her presence against his or her will by the use or threatened use of immediate force, violence, or fear of injury to that person or his or her property or the person or property of anyone.

There are three elements that qualify a crime as robbery:

1)    The taking of property happened in the victim’s presence;

2)    The property was taken without intent to return it and without the victim’s consent; and

3)    Violence or the threat of immediate violence was used.

Because robbery involves violence, it is more serious than other theft crimes. First degree robbery can be charged if the robber was armed with a deadly weapon or firearm, inflicted bodily injury, or robbed a financial institution.