I love to steal tech earlier - makes game easier and leaves you with improved experience to doing long road to alliance.
Just seen one can now (Ctulhu, maybe even earlier) do almost unlimited number of stealing missions in a role (limited by soldier Stamina only).
I remember earlier game releases had research center “gone under construction again” after 2-3 steals, making a few days brake.
I find older mechanics balancing. Seen other reporting same on other methods of ripping of fractions (resource harvesting from factory or food production as similar quicker method to get resources)