Green’s Dictionary of Slang

buzzer n.1

[buzz v.1 (3)]

1. a pickpocket.

[UK]H. Lemoine ‘Education’ in Attic Misc. 116: The knowing bench had tipp’d her buzer queer.
[UK] ‘Sonnets for the Fancy’ in Egan Boxiana III 622: [as 1791].
[UK]‘Dick Hellfinch’ in Rummy Cove’s Delight in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) III 105: Nor could she lounge the gagschule for a win, / The knowing Bench had tipp’d her buxer queer.
[UK]‘Dick Hellfinch’ in Rummy Cove’s Delight in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) III 105: Through thick and thin their busy buzzers splash.
[UK]E.V. Kenealy Goethe: a New Pantomime in Poetical Works 2 (1878) 337: Meacock, Buzzer, poor Fopdoodle / You're a pretty first floor lodger!
[UK]H. Mayhew Great World of London I 46: ‘Mobsmen’ or those who plunder by manual dexterity, like ‘buzzers’ who pick gentlemens’ pockets.
[UK]H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor IV 25: ‘Buzzers,’ or those who abstract handkerchiefs and other articles from gentlemen’s pockets.
[UK] ‘Six Years in the Prisons of England’ in Temple Bar Mag. Feb. 384: I wish they would never try that game, for it gives the ‘buzzer’ no chance.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
[Aus]Sydney Sl. Dict. (2 edn) 2: Buzzers, or Divers - Pickpockets.
[UK]‘Career of a Scapegrace’ in Leicester Chron. 10 May 12/1: A sailor-looking chap, known as ‘Tom the Buzzer’, who used a sailors rig as a good disguise to hide his real game —picking pockets’.
[UK]M. Davitt Leaves from a Prison Diary I 106: Hooks — These individuals, who are also known as ‘gunns’ and ‘buzzers,’ in prison slang, constitute the pickpocket class in its various specialities.
[US]Wichita Dly Eagle (KS) 5 Mar. 5/2: That old crowd of dark-room schemers and street-corner buzzers.
[US] ‘I Was a Pickpocket’ in C. Hamilton Men of the Und. 76: These buzzers never see prosperous days after their boyhood.
[US](con. 1950-1960) R.A. Freeman Dict. Inmate Sl. (Walla Walla, WA) 22: Buzzer – a burglar.

2. (UK Und.) a confidence trickster, who fools a shopkeeper into parting with a gold sovereign using sleight of hand and some hidden wax.

[UK]Clarkson & Richardson Police! 343: ‘Buzzing a tenner’ [...] The gold was placed on the counter, and the thief quickly palmed a sovereign and instantly stuck it to the wax placed by his companion [...] an altercation took place between the ‘buzzer’ and the shopkeeper. The police having been sent for, I went and searched the man from top to toe. Nothing was found.

3. (Aus. Und.) a robber of drunks; thus buzz a hoy, to rob a drunk.

[Aus]Sun. Mail (Brisbane) 13 Nov. 20/8: The name given by the underworld to the robber of drunks is that of ‘buzzer’ or ‘roller.’ These are the jackals who prey on the intoxicated they find in doorways and dark lanes for a few paltry shillings [...] Robbing a drunk is ‘buzzing a hoy’ to the initiated.