Would it be possible for a stable society to be built around the concept of theft as a positive action, and thievery as a virtue, while still having theft be technically illegal, but having the possession of stolen property be perfectly legal?
Say we have a society in which theft is widely accepted as a "good thing". Displaying items one has stolen is a sign of prestige, being good at stealing things, whether by confidence tricks, pick-pocketing, or burglary, is a positive trait on a level or above being physically attractive or athletic/good at sports in our modern society.
However, in a seeming contradiction, this society has laws against theft, even very strict laws by modern standards, with months or years of jail time for even small thefts. Again, possession of stolen property is perfectly legal, and thus if one is able to make a clean escape and the police are unable to prove that one has committed the theft using information other than the possession of the item or items in question, one is able to retain the property and there are no legal penalties.
Is such a society functional and stable, or will it fall apart due to internal pressures and strife?