From what I can see, it's the ad-providers dreadful tactics that has caused the massive growth in adblock usage.
Ad-banners should contain a static clickable image or text and certainly nothing nothing more than a video clip or animated gif.
Most ads on websites use scripts and cookies and where's there's code, there's going to be criminals that try finding vulnerabilities to drop malware, throw pop-ups or redirect the user. This would be very difficult to perform if ad providers were only allowed to provide a set of ad images and target links to where clicked images lead the user to.
My worst experience for ads was around 2005 when every second or third webpage I opened on most websites (including CD Freaks) resulted in one or two pop-ups. At that stage, I used Ad Block as the ads were severely crippling my satellite connection (300kbps), not to mention eating into my 1.5GB/month usage allowance. Back then, the most common malware was diallers, which on a dial-up connection would drop the existing connection and reconnect the user to a premium rate #.
I haven't used an ad-blocker in a few years and now mainly avoid websites that serve pop-up or flash over advertising. I also stopped using Flash since about a year ago which has also reduced the number of annoying ads. For the few websites I need flash on (mainly BBC News videos), I just open that page in Chrome browser and return to Firefox afterwards.
Personally I don't consider ad-blockers theft. However, I'm sure some people would also argue that ads are stealing their bandwidth, especially on mobile data connections where the user pays per MB.