Pickpocket Language

BY Beth Williams

Pickpocket’s slang
Among thieves there is a subset which everyone knows as pickpockets.  Many of these – especially professionals, will use slang terms to communicate with each other.  The following is an explanation of those terms.

A mark is the target of a pickpocket, pickpockets choices of marks vary and can include a tight packed crowded area where it’s dark such as a night club or cinema, all alone, or a distracted person or a group.

Moll Buzzer/bag snatcher
A moll buzzer is pretty much a bag snatcher and someone who targets women. A lot of Idiots who are new to pickpocketing/purse snatching are usually confrontational and often draw even more attention to themselves when bargained for, although there are some smart moll buzzers who work in teams and will often make an opportunity opening for one of them to make the snatch discreetly from the mark.

Open Gateway
Goods left unattended just ready for someone to take objects include but are not limited to: purses, handbags, coats, wallets and anything else for pickpockets to snatch up.

Taking the goods from the pocket or handbag of their mark.

The art bumping into a mark to take off his guard while they bump up the wallet with their other hand up to the top of the pocket ready for them to pull off a better lift.

The grabbing of the tip of a wallet and letting the mark walk away and naturally the wallet slipping out as well; usually completed after a bump up.

Dropping off a wallet or purse at a location for later retrieval.

Used in team pickpocketing when the goods are tossed to the partner to cause confusion or to keep out of trouble when questioned while their partner gets away.

The cutting of a female’s handbag in order to retrieve the bag from off her arm/shoulder.

Slitting of a pocket in order to retrieve a wallet from a bigger opening.

Stroking is the act where they give a slight stroke on the mark’s pocket to feel whether a wallet is in the mark’s pocket, ready to be lifted.