Green’s Dictionary of Slang

hooker n.1

also hook
[hook v.1 ]

1. [mid-16C–18C] a thief, orig. one who uses a pole with a hook at one end to ‘fish’ items from open windows, unguarded market stalls, passing carts etc; thus bene hooker boy, an expert thief.

2. [mid-19C] (US) a shoplifter.

3. [late 19C–1950s] a pickpocket, esp. of watches.