Green’s Dictionary of Slang

hoist n.

[SE hoist, to lift]

1. [early 18C+] (UK Und., also hoys) constr. with the, the act of shoplifting or breaking into houses; also used of those who specialize in the crime.

2. [late 18C+] (UK Und.) a shoplifter or burglar.

3. [1930s] the profits from a robbery.

4. [1930s+] (US) a hold-up or hijacking.

5. [1930s+] (also hyste) any form of robbery.

In compounds

hoist-lay (n.) [lay n.3 (1)] [19C] (UK Und.)

1. shoplifting.

2. robbing a man by holding him upside down and shaking the money out of his pockets.

In phrases

go (up)on the hoist (v.)

[18C–early 19C] to shoplift.

on the hoist (also at the hoist, on the hoys)

[early 19C+] working as a shoplifter.